New Delhi: India has deployed additional 100 tanks across the China border to tackle any threat from the neighbouring country. As India catches up with China’s aggressive military and infrastructure build-up across the border, among the most unusual steps initiated by New Delhi is to deploy the T-72 tanks on the barren heights of Ladakh.
The winter drill is not an inimical action against China, but a necessity to keep the Russian tanks running at those heights. Colonel Vijay Dalal, Commanding Officer of a tank, said “What we have done is that we have procured special additives and lubricants for high altitude terrain such as winter grade diesel and additives for the lubrication system, which prevents it from freezing in the tank.”
The Ladakh region is lined with plains in between the mountain ranges and the mechanised units add a major punch to the increased boots on the ground. India has already deployed tanks in Sikkim. Operating and maintaining tanks at such low oxygen conditions has significant challenges. There is severe degradation in the performance of these tanks as the cold temperatures and high altitude affect several parts and sub-components of the tanks.
While the tanks and crew have acclimatised, they have not been able to test their fire power here due to lack of firing ranges. The Army now sends its crew to the training centre at Ahmednagar, which is in the plains and has much different conditions.