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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

It snowed last night in Daulet Beg Oldi sector and the temperature all along the 1,597-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) in East Ladakh has plummeted below zero with fierce wind bringing down the chill factor.

In spite of the elements, the Indian Army troops have not budged an inch from their positions at all the friction areas and are standing up to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since May this year. There is no change in troop position or Indian armour on ground even as some reports have speculated that both India and China have decided to de-escalate and disengage troops with no patrolling zones at friction points. India and China have completed eight rounds of talks on disengagement and de-escalation with tangible results still not in sight.

Undeterred by the inclement weather, the Indian troops are packed up in snow tents and igloos with the adversary living it out in containers across the LAC. With the Indian Army fully deployed on the LAC along with specialized forces, the Border Roads Organization has decided to keep all the high mountain passes – Marsimika La (18314 feet near Hot Springs), Chang La (17585 feet on road to Pangong Tso) and Khardung La (17582 feet, on road to DBO) – open for army movement throughout the winter.

“All the reports about agreed step by step disengagement and de-escalation are speculative as the negotiations are still on at the military commanders level. There is no change in any position on ground with Indian troops high on morale and ready to face challenges posed by the PLA and the deteriorating weather,” said a top military commander.

A former Army Chief and a top diplomat both concurred by saying that breakthrough on the LAC will not be achieved easily as both sides are testing each other’s capability and capacity to stand up against the weather. “ It is a staring game. The first one who blinks will lose,” said a former army chief.

The PLA troops are also packed up on their side of the LAC and holding their positions at Gogra-Hot Springs, North Pangong Tso and on South Pangong Tso with accretion of troops across the DBO sector. According to available inputs, the Chinese are in strength at the base camp in the Galwan sector and at the friction point at finger four on Pangong Tso with continued rotation of troops.