As stand-off with China remains unresolved, the Indian Army gears up for formidable logistical challenges posed by harsh climate at heights exceeding 12,000 feet and temperature as extreme as minus 50 degrees Celsius.
The force requires special clothing, diet and shelter for around 35,000 extra troops deployed in Eastern Ladakh. Most of the friction points in Ladakh like Pangong Lake and Galwan Valley where the face-offs have happened are 14,000 feet above the sea level.
The force will incur an estimated expenditure of around Rs 400 crore for providing special winter clothing to cater to the enhanced deployment. The cost per soldier for special clothing equipment to brave the harsh winter is around Rs 1 lakh.
“To meet clothing and sheltering requirements for operations in these areas, a Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment (SCME) at cost of around Rs 1 lakh per set is provided to each soldier,” the officer said.
The SCME set comprises snow clothing and equipment for survival, resuscitation, rescue, mountaineering equipment and tents.
“The equipment is of superlative quality standards offering attributes such as light-weight, thermal, equilibrium, waterproof, breathable and durability,” the officer said.
The winter clothing and gear includes special three layered jackets and trousers, boots, snow goggles, facemask, rucksacks and others.
Temperature-controlled special tents and pre-fabricated huts are also provided. These can maintain the optimum temperature at the freezing heights where oxygen levels are also low, as in Ladakh.