A journey that took 16-18 days to reach LAC in Ladakh now only takes 24 hours, the road which frustrated China

EditorialA journey that took 16-18 days to reach LAC in Ladakh now only takes 24 hours, the road which frustrated China

China is frustrated with India and Ladakh because a journey which took 16-18 days for the Indian soldiers to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 1962 now only takes 24 hours.

President of Ex-Services League Ladakh Region, Retired Subedar Major honorary Captain Sonam Murup while recalling his days in Ladakh Scouts Regiment of the Indian Army said that the Defence is no longer what it used to be in 1962. “There were deficiencies during the 1962 war and we lost our land, but now the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy are now fully trained, armed and equipped. But more than that, now we have roads, bridges and other infrastructure which we did not have earlier.”

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He also disapproved the slogan “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai” which was popular before the 1962 war, Murup said, “We will it say it anymore. Instead, all the soldiers will raise only “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and Ladakhi “Ki Ki So So Lhargyalo” slogans and deafeat China. This enthusiasm is alive, not only among serving soldiers, but retired servicemen too. Even at the age of 84, our soldiers of Ladakh Scouts have the strength and competence to fight back.”

Reminiscing about his experiences as a soldier, Murup, who had joined the Indian Army in 1977 and retired in 2009, said that he and others would walk along with porters and ponies, carrying arms, ammunition, rations and other supplies, through the treacherous Shyok river also known as “the river of death” for its difficult terrain and furious flow. Shyok is a tributary of the Indus River that flows through northern Ladakh and enters Gilgit-Baltistan, covering over 550 km.

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“Sometimes, we used to cross even five times during a day. In all, we used to cross the river 118 times. It resulted in scraping off our skin, but we would keep moving on. It would take us 12 to 15 days, even till the 1980s.” but the things have changed today. “The current government has made roads and bridges. The Galwan Valley Bridge got completed in 2019. Now in a day or two, the soldiers can reach there comfortably. No need of ponies and horses or porters to carry arms and rations anymore.”

At that point, he also argued that China was self-assured but now they are worried that there is no weakness in the Army’s deployment and infrastructure in the region. “That is why they are expressing their frustration with aggression. We should not trust China at all.” Ladakh scouts regiment is known as the “Snow Warriors” and “eyes and ears” of the Indian Armed Forces. It had five combat battalions in Ladakh.

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Specialists of mountain warfare, Ladakh Scouts is one of the most decorated regiments of the Indian Army, with over 300 gallantry award and citations, including Maha Vir Chakras, Ashok Chakras and Kirti Chakras.

Vice President of Ex-Services League Ladakh Region, Subedar Rigzin Nawang, recalls that General SS Grewal had long ago proposed that the Ladakh Scouts should be expanded from five battalions to 20. The Subedar had joined the Army in 1970 and retired in 1999. He participated in the 1971 war and the 1999 Kargil war too.

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“There is a huge advantage to that because Ladakh Scouts are native, already acclimatized and can be deployed as and when necessary without any delay caused due to the movement of the troops form the plains of India. Soldiers from other parts of our country need a day or two to acclimatize and sometimes bad weather causes further delay of the troops”, Nawang said. It was because of Nawang’s mountain climbing skills, that as a young soldier, he had crossed the Line of Control (LoC)and entered Pakistan in 1971 and 1999.

The Chinese troops and the Indian Army has now withdrawn its troops for the Line of Actual Control (LAC). There is a strong sentiment among the Indians to boycott the Chinese products as a result of this, the Indian Government has put a ban on 59 Chinese apps which is seen as a beginning to the Boycott Chinese goods movement.

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