The government has started transporting winter jackets for troops in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) from the storage base in North Delhi.
The jackets will be part of the reserve stock for more than 45,000 troops stationed along the 826-km LAC in Ladakh.
The jackets have been imported from the US as part of emergency purchase. The first lot of 15,000 arrived in Delhi two weeks ago. With additional troops along the LAC in Ladakh, the emergency purchase was needed. The night temperature dropped below freezing a couple of weeks ago at altitudes over 14,000 feet near the LAC.
Soldiers will also be provided arctic tents and special high-nutrient diet. The Army already has a heated habitat facility with bunker-type beds.
It is the first time that so many troops will be stationed during winter in eastern Ladakh. Under normal circumstances, there are no more than two brigades (around 10,000 troops). This year, 30,000 additional troops have been stationed since May to ward off any misadventure by China.
Clothing and boots are provided in multiple pairs as they tend to get wet in the snow. Just the clothing and gear to tackle the cold — night temperatures are expected to hover around minus 30°C in peak winter will cost over Rs 1 lakh for each soldier, sources said.
Normally, patrolling is curtailed in winter. But this time, it is expected to be different as the People’s Liberation Army is stationed just across the LAC. The winter set in in the first week of September.