The Indian Army has deployed six T-90 missile firing tanks and top-of-the-line shoulder fired anti-tank missile systems in the Galwan Valley sector. With this move, India has signalled that it is all for peaceful restoration of status quo ante in eastern Ladakh but is also prepared for the worst case scenario.
Senior military commanders from India and China are, meanwhile, meeting at Chushul today to work out the de-escalation and disengagement process on mutual terms.
The army’s decision to deploy the T-90 Bishma tanks follows the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) strengthening their positions on the river bed with armoured personnel carriers and troop tents. The Indian Army is occupying the dominant heights in the sector within its side of the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).
Infantry combat vehicles along with 155 mm howitzers have been deployed all along 1597 km long LoAC in eastern Ladakh with two tank regiments deployed in Chushul sector to repel any aggressive plans of the adversary through the Spanggur Gap. While Chinese PLA wants to make a deal on the LAC in this sector as part of withdrawal, the Indian Army is no mood to give an inch as the military aggression came from the Western Theatre Command of China with the intention of redefining the LAC.
Military commanders said India was prepared for a long haul in this limited spectrum with capability of a full spectrum retaliation in case the red flag goes up. With the water temperature in the river already touching -10℃ and the river bed temperatures more frosty than the dominant heights due to temperature inversion, it is only a matter of time when “General Winter” takes over the area and makes Chinese positions in the Galwan Valley untenable.
The Indian Air Force’s capability has been ramped up immensely, with the induction of the C-17 Globemaster Super Hercules and the CH-47 Chinook. The Indian Army’s strike formations are now spearheaded by the T-90 tanks.
Airlifting the T-90s was an important aspect for the IAF. The 46 tonne tanks is very crucial to the Indian Army as it faces the Chinese deployments, which also include a mix of both heavy and light tanks.
Airlifting the T-90 tank was possible only due to C-17, which has a payload capacity of 77 tonnes. The C-17 have come in handy because the Il-76 could airlift only 45 tonnes, while the weight of the T-90 is 46 tonnes.
The C-17s have been in service since 2013 and there are 11 of them. The Indian Army had three regiments of the older T-72 tanks, which weigh around 40 tonnes. Earlier, the IL-76 would airlift the T-72s and this is an exercise that has been going on since the 1990s.
Since 1984, the Indian trooper has been trained in high altitude war to repel Pakistan Army from taking over Siachen glacier and has been sitting heights of over 15,000 feet in both Kargil as well as East Ladakh sector.
The general morale of the Indian military commanders and troops is very high, with both IAF and Indian Navy deployed in highest state of alertness. Majority of Chinese PLA Air Force fighters are taking off from Hotan air base in Taklamakan desert, some 240 km from the LoAC with surface to air missiles deployed to counter the Indian fighters.