New Army Division With a Focus on Eastern Ladakh


07:46 AM

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New Army Division With a Focus on Eastern Ladakh Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • News army division
  • Situation around LAC after Galwan incident
  • What is Operation Meghdoot?

Why in News?

A plan that has been waiting for a long time to create a new Army division for possible deployment of troops to eastern Ladakh might happen this year. This is part of some changes being made for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the Ladakh area.

This is significant as India is commemorating the 40th year of Operation Meghdoot, under which it took control of the Siachen Glacier.

News army division

  • Creation of 72 Division
    • The Army is considering raising the 72 Division for possible deployment in eastern Ladakh under the Northern Command.
      • The 72 Division was to originally function under the 17 Mountain Strike Corps (MSC) based in Panagarh (West Bengal).
    • A division has approximately 14,000 to 15,000 troops.
  • Restructuring of Army corps in the backdrop of the military standoff with China
    • Currently, the Army has four strike corps — the Mathura-based 1 Corps, Ambala-based 2 Corps, Bhopal-based 21 Corps, and 17 MSC in Panagarh.
    • However, till 2021, only the 17 MSC was focused on China. The other three were focussed on Pakistan.
    • But in the backdrop of the military standoff with China which began in 2020, a restructuring was carried out in 2021 to keep two of the strike corps for the mountains facing China. 
    • The 1 Corps and 17 Corps were restructured to focus on the northern and eastern borders to tackle Chinese threats.
  • Role of the 1 Corps and 17 Corps
    • The role of the 1 Corps was reoriented to focus on the northern borders with China with two infantry divisions. 
    • The 17 Corps was given an additional division from an existing corps to focus on the eastern theatre. 
    • Some elements of the 17 Corps were deployed in eastern Ladakh in the backdrop of the military standoff with China.
  • Part of 2-pronged strategy
    • This decision is part of overall redeployment changes being planned in the Northern Command, with a two-pronged strategy focused on: 
      • eastern Ladakh amid the standoff along the LAC with China, and 
      • on ensuring no gap in training of strike corps elements.

Situation around LAC after Galwan incident

  • India and China pushed in nearly 50,000-60,000 troops each along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) following the deadly clashes in the Galwan Valley in June 2020. 
  • Friction points such as Galwan Valley, north and south banks of Pangong Tso and the Gogra-Hot Springs area have seen some resolution in the last three years with the creation of buffer zones. 
  • Legacy friction points such as Depsang Plains and Demchok are yet to see any disengagement.

What is Operation Meghdoot?

  • Operation Meghdoot was the code name for a military operation conducted by the Indian Armed Forces on 13 April 1984. 
  • Its objective was to secure control over the strategically important Siachen Glacier in the eastern Karakoram Range of the Himalayas, located in Kashmir. 
  • The operation involved Indian troops airlifting to key positions along the glacier and establishing military posts to prevent Pakistan from gaining control over the area. 
    • On April 13, 1984, a fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters flew an Indian Army platoon, one soldier at a time, to the Bilafondla Pass on the Saltoro Ridge, towering over the Siachen Glacier at an altitude of 5,450 metres (17,880 ft).
    • Simultaneously, a platoon of Ladakh Scouts was airlifted to Sia La, in the northern glacier, at an altitude of 5,589 metres (18,336 ft).
    • Soon, about 300-odd Indian troops were positioned on the strategically important peaks and passes of the Saltoro Ridge.
  • The operation was successful in achieving its objectives, and India has since maintained a military presence in the Siachen Glacier region.
    • This is seen as India’s bold military response to what New Delhi calls Pakistan’s aggression in the uncharted territory of Ladakh, north of map reference NJ9842.
      • Both New Delhi and Islamabad had agreed that the Line of Control (LoC) stopped at point NJ9842 on the map. 
      • Beyond this was an unchartered territory and Pakistan wanted to occupy this region to gain strategic advantage which was thwarted by India.

Q.1. What is an infantry division?

An infantry division is a military unit that consists primarily of foot soldiers with light weapons, as well as supporting artillery, armor, and engineer units. It also has its own communication, supply, maintenance, and evacuation services. Infantry soldiers are the backbone of the military, and are responsible for defending their nation and pushing back enemy forces.

Q.2. What is Mountain Strike Corps (MSC)?

The Mountain Strike Corps (MSC) is an army convoy that moves along the Srinagar-Leh highway in Kashmir's Ganderbal district. It is the first mountain strike corps of India, and is also known as the Brahmastra Corps. The MSC is a quick reaction force and counter offensive force against China along the LAC. The MSC is headquartered at Panagarh in West Bengal under Eastern Command.

Source: Eye on eastern Ladakh, new Army division likely to be raised this year

Indian Express

Business Standard