China-India border dispute: massive convoy delivers winter supplies to troops at Himalayan outposts

25-Nov-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:51 AM Print This Post

Essential supplies have been delivered to Chinese soldiers stationed at remote Himalayan outposts to help them endure the harsh winter months in a border confrontation with India, state media reported.

Thousands of tonnes of goods the last batch of supplies available before the bitter snow season were loaded on to hundreds of heavy trucks before the winter weather cuts off traffic, CCTV reported on Sunday. The trucks travelled day and night along the dangerous mountain routes to deliver the essential goods to frontier outposts along the Himalayas.

This week-long transport campaign was intended to help garrison soldiers stock up on enough supplies and rations to last at their secluded stations until spring.

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“Thanks to their efforts, the border soldiers will enjoy a warm winter,” the report said.

The supplies travelled through National Highway G318, a 2,100km (1,300 miles) road connecting the Tibetan capital Lhasa and the neighbouring Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu, the major route linking Tibet to inner China.

The People’s Liberation Army motorcades travelled from the bottom of the Sichuan Basin at an altitude of 500 metres (1,640 feet) to the Tibetan Plateau and an average height of more than 4,000 metres above sea level.

They went through the rugged Hengduan Mountains, one of the world’s most geologically unstable ranges. Despite the rapidly dropping oxygen level, frequent rockslides, damaged roads ascending almost vertical cliffs and commonplace truck breakdowns, the transport corps finished the mission without major accident, CCTV said.

Since early May, Chinese and Indian armed forces have been locked in the worst stand-off in decades on this difficult terrain. Both China and India have reinforced their border forces and have forward deployed extra troops.

As winter falls, this marathon confrontation has turned into a tough game of survival as the troops must live through -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) winter in the high-altitude, low-oxygen middle of nowhere.

The PLA urgently developed and distributed a Type 20 winter kit named after the year it was invented which includes sheepskin boots, a down feather sleeping bag, cotton-padded tops and bottoms, a long coat and snow camouflage. In addition, supplies of a smart self-heating vest made of graphene have been bought for troops.

The PLA also built permanent housing with solar power and thermal devices and dug more than a dozen deep wells to guarantee a stable water supply along the border.

China has also deployed drones non-combat unmanned aerial vehicles for winter outdoor missions, such as supply delivery, border patrol and surveillance and armed reconnaissance to the front line.


Category: China

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