Ladakh is known for its natural beauty and intricate terrain, but today it is once again in the news for being the center of an ongoing border dispute between India and China.
The status of the region was changed by India in August last year. The land of Ladakh is considered unique because of its lakes, snow-capped mountains and narrow passages.
It will be difficult for you to understand the details of the ongoing dispute between India and China without understanding the location of this Himalayan region and other ground realities.
In 1834, Gulab Singh, a Dogra warrior, captured Ladakh and annexed the area to the Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh.
Historian Christopher Snyden, in his book Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris, called Gulab Singh’s capture of Ladakh a “significant achievement.” And the reason for this was that the occupation of the area enabled Ranjit Singh to gain control over the wool trade from the local sheep and goats.
The area was briefly occupied by Tibetan and Chinese forces, but was soon recaptured in 1842.
101 years after this incident, the two newly formed states, Pakistan and India, fought over the occupation of Ladakh.
What does Ladakh look like in all this ?
“If you stand in India and look at China, East Ladakh looks like a cup to you, while on the left is the highest point of the Karakoram, the valley of Daulat Beg Oldi and the Galwan,”
Beyond that is Lake Pengong. And as you move to the right, you come down and the area up to Dum Chowk is quite level, but after Dum Chowk, the ascent starts again.
What are the difficulties in army deployment and activities in Ladakh ?
General Patel is heading the 14th Corps of the Indian Army
“Suffice it to say that in some areas of eastern Ladakh, military deployment is as difficult as on the Siachen Glacier,” he said. In fact, I remember that you can’t stand in the open for more than a few minutes in the Daulat Beg Oldi area because of the strong and cold winds in both winter and summer.
At such an altitude, human endurance, including all things, is severely tested. For example, a person’s ability to carry weight, dig defensive trenches and fronts takes a lot of time because the whole area is rocky. Where under normal circumstances this work takes a few hours, here it can take seven to eight days. It is not easy to take machinery there.
India’s most difficult advance landing ground is in the Daulat Beg Oldi area.
“The mountain range on the north bank of Lake Pangong and where we patrol, and when we look at the lake from there, these hills and mountains look like our fingers,” said General Patel. That is why this area is called Finger Area.
He said that their total number is eight so we have named them 8.
The point here is that we have a road up to finger four, while China has a road up to finger eight. However, these areas are disputed so we do not allow Chinese troops to come there and we are not allowed to go there either.
But both China and India agree on one thing. “We both call this area the ‘Finger Area’