Thursday, October 1, 2009

Line of Control - Just 5 KM Away
Ten years ago the gaps were sometimes as wide as 20 kilometres between posts along the Line of Control. And then there were avalanche prone areas that had never been patrolled. But not any more.

Hundreds of posts have mushroomed along the 160-kilometre-long area of intrusion between Mushkoh valley near Drass to Batalik and Turtuk near the Siachen glacier.

And these posts have not been vacated despite the most hostile weather conditions in the past 10 years. The Siachenisation of Kargil is complete.

In 1999, Pakistan launched multiple armed intrusions in unheld areas to cut off Siachen glacier and avenge their 1971 defeat. Now all gaps have been plugged.

In the backdrop of Kargil, one can recall, in 1999 one brigade defended the Line of Control in the Kargil sector-2,400 men.

But, in 2009 there is a full division guarding the same area - that's three infantry brigades and one artillery brigade. Almost 20,000 men have been deployed in the Drass,  Kargil batalik region. A division headquarters has come up in Hanuthang for closer monitoring of all developments and to ensure that a Kargil does not happen again.

A specialised battle school has also been set up to train jawans in mountain climbing and high altitude warfare and only the best of the best pass out of the Kargil Battle School.

Army's Achilles heel
Artillery was credited for winning the war for the army. Hundreds of guns pounded enemy held peaks during the conflict. Though several regiments have been deployed along the Line of Control, but the lack of artillery modernisation remains the army's Achilee's Heel.

Aerial scanning
The skies above Kargil are now constantly scanned. Apart from aviation sorties by Indian Air Forceunmanned aerial vehicles fly over the area of operation to check for any enemy movement.   helicopters, both searcher and heron

Vigilance on ground
On ground the army has procured sophisticated hand held thermal imagers and night vision devices.

An unofficial estimate suggests that Rs 8 to 10 crores is being spent per day to sustain the troops at this high altitude battlefield.

But all along the LOC one fact is evident - that whatever be the cost it will never again be said that the Indian army was caught off guard.


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