India rushes supplies and ammunition to contested border as China war tensions soar

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Since May, the two countries engaged in a number of military clashes from both sides of the North-Eastern border of Sikkim. In June, they had their first bloody altercation in 45 years after troops met in the Galwan Valley, in Ladakh.

The confrontation left 20 Indian soldiers dead and at least 35 Chinese, including a senior official, were killed, according to local reports from each side.

Both sides have continually accused each other of escalating the tensions along the border, with New Delhi blaming Beijing for the ongoing disputes.

As tensions continue to rise, India has now activated its entire logistics network to send supplies to thousands of troops on the border ahead of a harsh winter.

Over recent weeks, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises has sent vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh – the region bordering Tibet which is administered by India.

Major General Arvind Kapoor, chief of staff of the Indian army’s 14 Corps, said: “All the supplies that we need have already been pushed to wherever they are required.

“In a place like Ladakh, operations logistics is of huge importance. In the last 20 years, we have mastered it.”

Despite both countries negotiations to resolve the confrontation, neither side has backed now and India is prepared to keep troops deployed along the high-altitude border throughout winter.

Normally, Eastern Ladakh is manned by up to 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers but reports claim the figure of soldiers has more than doubled.

On Tuesday, an Indian Air Force large transport aircraft landed at a forward base in Ladakh carrying men and materials.

Each winter, temperatures in Ladakh can drop well below freezing and snow blocks mountain passes into the region for at least four months.

A military official told Aljazeera they have “mirrored the increase” of Chinese troops in the region and added they were well-prepared but did not want further escalation or a prolonged conflict.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “Our government, too, has stepped up the budget for border infrastructure development to about double the previous levels.

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“As a result, more roads and bridges have been completed in the border areas.

“As of now, the Chinese side has mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as fellas in the depth areas.”

Yesterday, Indian officials accused Beijing of laying cables and staking further claims on the disputed border.

Two Indian officials accused Chinese troops of laying a network of fibre optic cables at a western Himalayan flashpoint.

A former Indian military intelligence official said the cables offered secure communications as well as the ability to send data such as pictures and documents.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry denied any claims the cable network.

Relations between the countries have grown increasingly strained over the last three decades.

Several rounds of talks have been held in an attempt to resolve the ongoing dispute but with no success.

In 2017, the two countries clashed over China’s attempt to extend a border road through a disputed plateau.

Only once has there been an outright war between Beijing and New Delhi. In 1962, India suffered a devastating defeat to China.

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