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Soldiers stand Sentinel in Ladakh

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By: Kamal Baruah

Feeling the emotion of war is the most destructive & ruthless activities and those experiences last a lifetime for them while soldiers go for war at early age into the jaws of death.It was his KamalBaruah 1terrifying days of targeting warhead at launching missiles as India is facing aggression from enemy over the mountain range of LAC at sub-zero temperature. With high altitude fighting gear, soldierslive on the icy wasteland of inhospitable terrain wading through hills of snows.
It is Ladakh, the disputed region between India, Pakand China.It claimed, Chinese have been living for several hundred years in “Aksai Chin” at the western border. The uninhabited areas have never been demarcated and sharing of LAC maps are never agreed by either side. After a year of 1962 aggression, both countries hold it position along the Line of Actual Control, thus the conflict mitigated by withdrawal of 20 km along the entire front line and maintainit as 1962 status quo.
Former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s path breaking visit in 1988 and PM Vajpayee’s visit in 2003 helped to set up dedicated mechanism to resolve the border dispute.Over the years of enhancing confidence at the military level, it failed inability to agree to a border settlement and troops come into conflict / faceoff regularly. Mercifully, there have been no fatalities on either side of the LAC for over four decades.
They recently engaged in the standoff in PangongTso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim. But on the night of Jun 15/16,800 PLAswearing protective gear and armed with stones, nail studded sticks, iron rods and clubs confronted and ambushed the Indian Patrol Party at Galwan.India now considers Red Dragoon to be devious and untrustworthy.
Did Chinese troops attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in Galwanregion? The dominating height of the strategic Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road has probably threatens Chinese that connected to Karakorum Pass. The Galwan River flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region to Ladakh and join the Shyok River.Another road goes across the GalwanRiver for India’s border patrolling areasnear to Chineseborder post near Karakoram range. Also IAF has high landing ground in Daulat Beg Olide where C17 the biggest aircraft courier can land. All these strategic happening might hamper China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at POK.
Air Force helicopters can now land at Siachen, the highest battleground of 20,000 ft where India and Pakistan have permanent military base. India has 2500 km of territory with Sia La, Bilafond La and Gyong La where Pakistan occupies Saltoro Ridge. To protect the Bahadur Post Chulung, Pak copters were gunned down by an Indian IGLA Missile where Brig Commander and other boarding troops were killed. That triumph led Indian Air Force to form an IGLA Squadron at Ladakh region and they were recalledfor missile formation.
After faceoff at Galwan, this formerAir warrior has remembered his heyday at Ladakh. Field duties are another battle that required persistence courage. With destination unknown yet soldiers have determination, euphoric joy and brightness for new assignment. They got willpower and continue fighting till the end of war. Life is all about the moment of victory that is to offer for his motherland. It was a joy of firing IGLA Missile sounding sonic boom at the lonely valleys at land of high passes.
Man-Portable Air Defence SystemIGLAis Surface-to-Air Missilethat is lightweight of 28 to 55 pounds with launcher enough to be operated by a single soldier. It can strike airplanes up to an altitude of 15,000 feet at a range of 3.2 miles at a speed of Mach 2 aiming through laser beam.Developed in 80s IGLA is the most sophisticated Missile the Soviets ever made. Sophisticated military planes are not easily jammed by IGLA electronically but passenger planes are vulnerable. 
Humanity cannot afford war for any reason but soldiers have to move on emergency that we called it as Flash Signal. Passive Air Defence (PAD)was called on while General Pervez Musharraf orchestrated the infiltration of troops and terrorists into Indian Territory. Indian Army launched Operation Vijay 1999, the Kargil War had begun.
Soldiers were aerodynamically lifted by a MI-8 copter although troopers counteracted drag in forward flight. Boarders peeped through the window to take a fond look and sang along the line from a soldier’s tear. The huts waved them for a prayer while the copter whisked away within a few seconds. Airfield operations take place in the forenoononly owing to the presence of mountain winds. The landing has one of the world’s most scenic approaches located between the Mountain ranges. They landed India’s highest commercial airport Leh at 10,682 feet.
While Mig and Mirage bombarded the Tiger Hills, Army recaptured Kargilwith Bofors guns to silenceit and we were busy launching missile in Ladakh region. It was no Hollywood thriller but we moved hills and valesfor the live mission.Soldiers might get wounded, broken but they always stand tall out of fear. The Galwan said the supremesacrifice of Indian soldiers who faced off with barbaric Chinese PLA for protecting territorial integrity for their country. To be honest,we did not get the opportunity to lock and fire any enemyaeroplanes as target or a decoy. But we swam ashore across the lonely rivers atZanskar, Shyok, Suru and Nubraeasily while targeting shoulder launched IGLA Missile. We lived across the Ladakh then.
The writer is a former air warrior and now works for SBI Dispur. [email protected]

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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