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The Indian Army received extreme cold weather clothing from the US for its soldiers deployed on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Tensions between India and China have soared this year due to clashes along borders.
Indian government sources told Asian News International: “An initial lot of extreme cold weather clothing from the American defence forces have been received and are being used by our troops there.”
The sources added that the Indian Army has a stock of 60,000 of the extreme cold weather clothing sets for soldiers deployed in Ladakh.
But due to heightened tensions, this year India needed an additional 30,000 sets as almost 90,000 soldiers are being deployed in the area due to China’s forces along the LAC.
Harsh winters in the Ladakh region mean that Indian Army troops need the clothing in order to continue their presence in the area.
Indian forces have added two additional divisions on the LAC that have been training for high-altitude operations for many years.
The US is also sending assault rifles to the Indian Army to help in their battle against China’s People’s Liberation Army.
Lieutenant General D. S. Hooda, a former Indian Northern Army commander, said there has not been “an expanded winter deployment since the 1962 war”, according to the Japan Times.
He added: “Both countries are digging in. It tells us that attitudes are hardening … we could see an extended period of tensions that could have unintended consequences.”
Over the summer, India lost control of about 300 square kilometres of land along the disputed mountainous region, according to Indian officials.
Both sides are preparing to maintain their positions in extreme weather conditions during the winter months which could see temperatures drop 40 degrees below freezing.
Tensions over the disputed territory have been called the worst in decades between the two sides.
Earlier this year, a clash between the two nuclear neighbours saw 20 soldiers die.
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The hand-to-hand battle was the most serious military confrontation between the two neighbours in more than half a century.
India and China fought a war in the area six decades ago and Beijing has blamed the recent tensions on India’s infrastructure building.
China’s Foreign Ministry called India’s infrastructure push as the “root cause of tensions” in the area.
Chen Jinying, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Shanghai International Studies University, told Japan Times: “Both sides appear to be very determined and neither side is willing to show any signs of weakness or gesture to back down.”
After the Galwan Valley attack in June, both sides agreed to pull back their troops.
But tensions have not eased despite hopes for negotiations between China and India.
The eighth round of military talks between the two sides is reportedly likely to take place on November 6.
The talks come in a bid to defuse the standoff in the Ladakh region and progress with any future hopes for peace in the area.
The two sides have agreed to continue dialogue to arrive at a solution as soon as possible.
India has said that China’s PLA should take the first step to withdraw troops as it was the first to move into the north bank of Pangong Tso and other areas in May.
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