Saturday, 04 December 2021

India shows logistics capabilities to support forces in Ladakh

India shows logistics capabilities to support forces in Ladakh

After carrying out airborne combat maneuvers in Ladakh to showcase its rapid reaction capabilities, India displayed its skill to provide logistics support to military deployments in the sensitive sector during the ongoing border standoff with China in an airlift drill code-named Operation Hercules, officials close with the development said.

The joint exercise by the Indian Air Force and the Army was conducted on 15 November. The defense ministry announced on Wednesday, two weeks after airborne practices in eastern Ladakh, showcased abilities such as weapons and precision standoff drops, swift inter-theatre movement of troops, and fast capture of selected targets.

The ministry said in a statement.

"The aim of the high intensity airlift was to build up the logistics supply in a northern sector and to increase winter stocking in functional areas,"

The IAF's IL-76 aircraft, IL-76 aircraft, and An-32 and C-17 Globemaster III heavy lifter were involved in the drill.

India has posted 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers and advanced weaponry in the Ladakh area to counter Chinese armed forces build-up and the possibility of any adventure by the neighbor whose aggressive actions triggered the border standoff for more than 18 months.

Operation Hercules was a real-time exhibition of the IAF's heavy-lift ability, the ministry said, adding that the air force played an excellent role "in ensuring the ability to respond to any contingency" during the standoff quickly.

Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), who leads the Centre for Air Power Studies, said

"IAF has show its surge logistics capability at a short notice in the operational sector. There's a massive deployment of Indian forces in Ladakh, with logistics requirements soar up in winter,"

India shows logistics capabilities to support forces in Ladakh 1pixabay image

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An air brigade, consisting of the Army's finest paratroopers, was the centerpiece of Ladakh's three-day high-altitude combat maneuvers in early November.

The drill saw soldiers being inserted into a drop zone at an altitude of more than 14,000 feet, with unique vehicles and missile detachments transported to the exercise region via US-origin C-130J special operation aircraft and Soviet-origin An-32 medium operations aircraft transport planes from five different climbing bases.

China and India have hardened their positions on the border row in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, increasing military activities on both sides, infrastructure development, surveillance, and combat maneuvers by their armies.

Op Hercules came five weeks after military talks with China to cool tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) reached an impasse on 10 October.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) did not accept suggestions made by the Indian Army at the 13th round of discussion on 10 October. The Indian Army said it made constructive suggestions for resolving the outstanding problems on LAC. Still, the Chinese side was not agreeable and could not provide any forward-looking proposals, while China accused India of unreasonable and unrealistic demands in an unusually aggressive statement.

Military discussions are unlikely to result in a breakthrough, and experts have said that only higher intervention can show how to resolve the 18-month-old border crisis. In a report submitted to the Congress on 3 November, the US department of defense said Beijing was taking "incremental and tactical actions to press its claims" at LAC, despite participating in talks to resolve the crisis.

There is no end in glimpse to the standoff, with army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane stating on 9 October that if PLA is there to stay in the Ladakh theatre, so is the Indian Army. PLA has also intensified its activities in sensitive areas across LAC in Arunachal Pradesh after the lingering standoff with India began last year in the Ladakh sector.

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