With little progress been made in Corps Commander level talks between India and China, indications are that immediate de-escalation and withdrawal of Chinese troops may not happen. This would mean that troops from both India and China will have to live in the harsh conditions for a long time. “Snowfall is expected in this region by next week or in the next days. It will render tanks and big guns useless and ultimately it will be a test of human endurance," an official in the security establishment explained.
To tackle the winter conditions, Indian Army is procuring Russian tents. A source said the ordinance factory in Kanpur has been approached to procure these tents. China has constructed semi-permanent structures at Pangong and at other friction points of LAC. Officials explained that the lockdown meant some of the contractors who could have helped Indian army build pre-fabricated structures to house troops, were not available. The Russian tents which can withstand Siberia-like cold has been arrived at as the quickest and most effective alternative.
Troops are also looking at desi jugaad to sustain themselves. ITBP jawans who because of long deployment understand the weather and living conditions better have decided to rely on ‘shakkarpara’ as the super food. ‘Shakkarpara’ is a north Indian snack where wheat flour dough is deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup. “The wheat in it is filling, the sugar gives you energy. It is easy to make and carry," a deployed jawan explained on this unusual choice. The troop headquarters in Delhi also confirmed that batches of ‘shakkarpara’ are being prepared and sent to forward posts.
Water supply is the other bigger worry on the heights which Indian soldiers have occupied. In some forward posts piped water from ground source has been arranged. Locals in Chushul have helped Indian army ferry water in some other locations. But largely forces are prepared to use the snow in winter months as a water source. “The plan is to melt the snow over heaters that we have and strain it to provide drinkable water at certain heights," a senior officer in charge of troops told News18.
More than 30,000 soldiers have been deployed additionally in eastern Ladakh since the Galwan clash.