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Underground fuel dumps, freeze-proof fuel, mobile ATCs — How Army is prepping for Ladakh winter

Massive logistics have been put in place in Ladakh to house additional troops, with heated prefabricated tents, specialised clothing and high-energy rations.

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New Delhi: Underground fuel dumps with a capacity of four lakh litres each, vast quantities of high-grade diesel and kerosene, and mobile Air Traffic Control (ATC) units — these arrangements form the backbone of the massive logistics operation in Ladakh where India has pumped in over 40,000 additional troops and equipment amid the ongoing stand-off with China.

Meanwhile, efforts are also underway to find an underground source of clean drinking water for soldiers in Ladakh, which has a lot of rivers and rivulets that freeze during the winter.

With no easing of tensions between the two Asian giants in Ladakh, soldiers are set to remain deployed in the region through its bitter winter.

“We are prepared for the winter. There could be some small logistics issues here and there, but our boys are ready for any eventuality. With time, these small issues will also be taken care of,” a source in the defence and security establishment said.

Massive logistics have been put in place to house the additional troops with heated prefabricated tents, specialised clothing and high-energy rations, the source added.

“This was something that the Indian Army had not planned in its annual winter stocking. The Army has been able to quickly adapt to this logistics challenge and various arms have come together to ensure that the soldiers posted in forward locations have the right equipment, clothes and place to stay this winter,” a second source said.

Also read: In –35°C, the Indian soldier at LAC is 50% less efficient but 100% ready to fight China

Kerosene, diesel, water

The military has deployed transport aircraft like the C-17, IL-76, C-130J, besides as many as 6,000 Army trucks to carry tonnes of rations, clothing, tents and kerosene oil into Ladakh.

“The heaters use kerosene and, hence, it is very important. The Army has also moved a large number of armoured personnel carriers and tanks into Ladakh besides a host of other vehicles and others that need fuel. We have tie-ups with all the oil companies and there is no dearth of supply,” a source said.

According to sources, the Army has, in the last few years, created multiple underground fuel dumps that are capable of storing up to four lakh litres each.

State-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) had last year launched a special winter-grade diesel that remains unfrozen up to -33 degree Celsius. The fuel will help provide year-round access to snow-capped forward areas, besides being an asset in stocking up on supplies, including ammunition, which get cut off during the winter.

Kerosene in cans is also taken to various forward posts through helicopters, which require fuel to fly.

Sources said trucks of the oil company transfer their fuel into these underground dumps, from where they are pumped into barrels and sent ahead, depending on the use.

Meanwhile, with a high number of helicopters and aircraft deployed by the Army and the Air Force in the forward areas of Ladakh, the one at Leh was proving insufficient and a need was felt for more ATCs.

The Army is thus setting up mobile ATCs in Ladakh, a set-up that is also available in Siachen. These mobile ATCs look like the OB vans of television news channels.

Another requirement that is high on the Army’s agenda is the availability of clean drinking water.

As mentioned before, Ladakh’s many rivers and rivulets freeze during the winter, and have silt issues during the summer. Even the Pangong Tso lake has salty water.

Accordingly, external water experts and geologists have been engaged by the Army to find clean underground water for use by soldiers. Efforts are on to find such spots in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector, Pangong and Depsang Plains, which are among the flashpoints in the ongoing India-China stand-off 

Also read: These are the challenges Indian Army will face in Ladakh this winter, besides the Chinese


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  1. Nothing to worry – apparently this story was based on off the record briefings of the Indian forces and establishment.
    This will boost the morale of the soldiers and the public at large – keeping them informed that the government is aware of the needs and is fully prepared. And the enemy will be warned and at the same time he does not know to what extent India has strenghtned its forces and the extent of irs preparations.
    It is all part of psycops function of the forces.
    Jai Hind.

  2. Great Indian Army, we are proud of you. Bharat Mata Lee jai. Having said this, make no mistake, this is all due to our top brass not guarding Psong Tao lake and taken by surprise snoozing in the first place.


  4. Media is giving all news to enemies.. where is our Army is deployed… It’s very shame on media to publish such a secret things.. pls stop stop…

  5. Why the hail you are divulging military activity on media. Your report might help china to understand our strategy and other preparation. You must refrain from disclosing the highly sensitive military issue.

  6. How our army is prepared is a good matter. But it is news for media is really bad as it will give undue advantage to enemies.

  7. why china is hesitent to attack with numerical and economic superiority and no fear of accountability? perhaps it cannot muster 2-3 time superiority required to start an offensive but maintain such offensive it needs secured supply line which as of now is easily open to indian interdiction.

  8. I’m pretty sure our army would have wanted to keep such aspects secret, journalism should not be at the cost of our country’s strategy !!

  9. Are you real Indian? Or you are chinese agent why you are disclosing these plans online if some how you know. In war times you should not disclose your supply plans. If you are such a war expert you should be knowing.

  10. China Country is going on its worst , she has habited to grab land of others but Now she must be ready to bear for 130 Crore Shoes of Indian people on its head.In the world we have reviewed that Countries do not want to go against China but India must need to put 130 Crore its Sandel on the China head so that China might come to consider that she is doing wrong.

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