Amid Indo-China border row, India deploys tunnel defenses in Ladakh
Months into a border standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India has reportedly deployed "tunnel defenses" in Ladakh. The move would enable Indian forces to pre-empt any further transgressions from the People's Liberation Army (PLA). India and China have been engaged in a bitter standoff along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh since early-May. Here are more details.
Hume pipes deployed in dug-in tunnels
The Indian Army has deployed large-diameter Hume-reinforced concrete pipes in dug-in tunnels, Hindustan Times reported citing senior military commanders. This would provide Indian troops shelter during an attack and a chance to surprise the adversary. Reportedly, the pipes are six-eight feet wide, allowing troops to easily move through them. They can also be heated, thus providing shelter from the biting cold.
China used tunnel defenses in Sino-Japanese war
The report stated that the Chinese have used tunnel defenses against the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese war. The PLA has reportedly built tunnel shelters to house aircraft at Lhasa airbase and underground pens to house nuclear ballistic missile submarines in Hainan Islands.
India-China border tensions escalated after May stand-off
Tensions along the LAC rose after a stand-off between Indian and Chinese forces near the Pangong Tso lake in early-May. Even as both sides held talks for a peaceful resolution, another clash in Galwan Valley led to the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers and a disputed number of Chinese casualties. The situation continues to be tense since fresh border escalations followed in late-August.
Ninth round of talks to be held soon
Several rounds of military and diplomatic level talks have been held since the May 2020 escalation, however, the issue remains unresolved. The ninth round of talks is expected to be held soon with the aim to disengage and de-escalate from friction points along the LAC. Reportedly, the Indian side has maintained that the restoration of status quo ante has to begin with the PLA.