The Indian military is mobilising nearly 100 tanks near its border with China as part of latest measures to beef up its presence in the region. The deployment of the T-72 tanks in the remote mountainous region is directly aimed at challenging what it sees as Beijing's aggressive stance in the border area. The tanks have been deployed after the Indian forces made some significant improvement in their operations.
"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," Colonel Vijay Dalal, commanding officer of one of the tank regiments, was quoted as saying by The Hindu. Altitude in the area can rise as high as 14,000 feet in eastern Ladakh.
This is the third regiment deployed by the Indian army, forming a full brigade. Two previous deployments took place in 2014 and 2015. The regiments – named Tipu Sultan, Maharana Pratap and Aurangazeb – will be positioned in the eastern Ladakh region, where temperaturescould plunge to -45 degree during winter.
To make the Russian-made tanks function smoothly at the barren heights and harsh weather conditions, they were even kept running during the nights.
"The vast flat valleys along the mountain ranges allow for armoured movement; besides, there has been an increase in the force levels across the border," an unnamed military official told NDTV.
Tanks were airdropped during the 1962 war between India and China, but they were swiftly withdrawn after the vehicles could not withstand the rarefied atmosphere. India suffered a comprehensive defeat in the war.
Beijing has been ramping up its infrastructure and military presence in the border region for the past few years, making it a cause of concern for the government in New Delhi.