New Delhi: The Army’s 14 Corps is looking at procuring different types of UAVs, fast interceptor boats and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), besides wheeled armoured personnel carriers, among a host of other items, amid the stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, ThePrint has learnt.
The 14 Corps, which takes care of the northern part of the Line of Control with Pakistan and the Siachen Glacier besides the LAC, has also sought the Israeli Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), long-range surveillance cameras and small-bodied ambulances, said a top defence source.
The corps is looking at procuring at least 10 to 15 long-range Heron UAVs and 20-25 multi-copters for close-range surveillance, besides 10 high speed interceptor boats to be used in the disputed Pangong Lake, the source added.
The 14 Corps’ list projects a requirement of around 40 Spike ATGM launchers with an undisclosed number of missiles and more than 50 wheeled armoured personnel carriers.
Additionally, the corps would need anywhere between 20 to 30 anti-material rifles and 20 to 25 ATVs, the source said.
List to be vetted by northern command
As part of its winter preparedness, the 14 Corps also plans to procure waterproof chest waders and boots, vehicle-based snow cutters and extra wide bridges, though their numbers are currently not known.
In Galwan, the Chinese soldiers came with waterproof boots, while the Indian troops had none.
As reported by ThePrint, the Army is busy planning the logistics to equip the 30,000 additional soldiers with the right gear and adequate rations to deal with the tough conditions ushered in by the six-month cold season.
A second source said that the list will be vetted by the Northern Command — which may also add certain items for 15 and 16 Corps covering Jammu and Kashmir regions — and would be procured under the emergency powers delegated to the vice-chief of Army Staff under Schedule 23.
“Procuring these equipment would enhance the operational capability substantially, particularly because there hasn’t been any progress on ground and the forces need to be prepared,” a second source said.
As reported earlier, the situation at eastern Ladakh continues to remain tense, particularly at Pangong Tso and Depsang plains, despite five corps commander-level talks in which both sides agreed for the need for disengagement.
At Pangong Tso, the Chinese are yet to vacate Finger 4 completely, while at Depsang plains they continue to block Indian patrols at Patrol Points 10 to 13, and have access to a large tract of land, which India considers its own.
This was also discussed at the Major-General level talks between the two sides Saturday and will be the subject of further discussions to be held at the diplomatic level.