Indian Army conducting airborne exercises in eastern Ladakh along China border

The Indian Army is conducting aerial exercises close to the border in eastern Ladakh to induct troops in high-altitude zones and validate its rapid response capabilities, a media report said

Nov 02, 2021
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Indian Army conducting airborne exercises in eastern Ladakh

The Indian Army is conducting aerial exercises close to the border in eastern Ladakh to induct troops in high-altitude zones and validate its rapid response capabilities, a media report said.

This comes in the backdrop of India’s military standoff with China in the region for nearly 18 months.

The Indian Express, quoting unnamed sources, said that the Indian Army’s Shatrujeet Brigade is conducting “an airborne insertion along the northern borders in eastern Ladakh to validate its Rapid Response Capabilities, as part of an airborne exercise and combat manoeuvres”. On Monday, the airborne troops were inserted at a drop zone at an altitude of more than 14,000 feet.

The troops had been pre-acclimatised. They said the troops, “along with specialist vehicles and missile detachments, were transported via C-130 and AN 32 aircraft from five different mounting bases to validate inter-theatre move, precision stand-off drops, rapid grouping and capture of designated objectives with speed and surprise”.

The drop at such an altitude, and with winter setting in, was “particularly challenging due to the low temperatures” — the mercury dipped to minus 20 degrees Celsius — and the atmosphere is rarefied at super-high-altitude terrain.

“The exercise also involves conduct of Oxygen Combat Free Fall jumps and integrated battle drills by airborne forces, mechanised columns and attack helicopters, validating capabilities and seamless integration,” sources told The Indian Express. 

 India and China are both ramping up infrastructure along the entire Line of Actual Control (LAC) across all sectors. Even as the standoff in eastern Ladakh continues, China has increased patrolling, including area domination patrols in the eastern sector as well since last year. India has also raised its defence along the entire LAC.

Indian Army troops are at the same time conducting a joint exercise with the US Army in the snow-bound Chugach Mountains in Alaska, approximating the conditions Indian soldiers face in the Himalayas where they confront Chinese troops,

The final part of the exercise, named Yudh Abhyas, was conducted in “the Chugach Mountains in deep snow, blowing winds, and sub-freezing temperatures” where combined Indian and US Army units carried out a simulated military operation assault, the US Army said.

(SAM)