Perils of river crossings in High Altitudes, Tank swept away, 5 soldiers...

Perils of river crossings in High Altitudes, Tank swept away, 5 soldiers die


Perils of river crossings in High Altitudes, Tank swept away, 5 soldiers die

Five Indian soldiers were killed when a T 72 tank while crossing the swollen Galwan River got stuck and sank, while men who were manning it got swept away before help could reach them. These T 72 tanks are of Russian design but made in India with numerous updated modifications and weigh around 47 tons.

The Galwan Valley is very much Indian territory but presently it has a Line of Control with China’s PLA who are in illegal possession of Indian territory.The international border between India and Tibet is much further North.

The tragedy occurred early Saturday during a military training activity, when due to sudden increase in the water levels of Shyok River, the tank got stuck among the boulders.

As per Indian army Corp HQ statement, the accident took place in Saser Brangsa near the Line of Actual Control that divides Indian Army and PLA in the Ladakh region.

Shri Rajnath Singh, Raksha Mantri called it an “unfortunate accident.”

“We will never forget exemplary service of our gallant soldiers to the nation. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. The nation stands firm with them during this hour of grief,” Singh wrote on the social platform X.

“On 28 Jun 2024 night, while de-inducting from a military training activity, an army tank got struck in the Shyok River, near Saser Brangsa, Eastern Ladakh due to sudden increase in the water level. Rescue teams rushed to the location, however, due to high current and water levels, the rescue mission didn’t succeed and the tank crew lost their lives. Indian Army regrets loss of five brave personnel while being operationally deployed in Eastern Ladakh. Rescue operations are underway,” the Indian Army said in a statement on X.

Last year, nine soldiers including a JCO lost their lives when an army truck they were travelling in, veered off the road and plunged into a deep gorge near Kiari in Leh district.

The Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff in Ladakh since May 2020, when they clashed along their land border in the region, with 20 Indian and forty Chinese soldiers were killed and more than 40 Chinese soldiers injured.

The skirmish turned into a long-running standoff in the rugged high altitude area, where each side has stationed around 60 -70 thousand military personnel. New Delhi and Beijing have held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve their worst military conflict in decades.

The LAC dispute between India and China dates back to the 1950s, when China first forcibly occupied Tibet a free country, crossed the Indo Tibetan border and then attacked India and captured areas in Ladhak Region if India.

In January this year, army chief General Manoj Pande said the army is ready to deal with any challenge in the northern border (China).

“The army is ready and capable of dealing with any situation along the northern borders (with China). We have taken several concrete measures to develop our capabilities in those areas,” General Pande had said.

The army chief had said the situation along LAC in the Ladakh sector was “stable, yet sensitive.” In these areas PLA will require atheist 6 : 1 superiority for any attack where as India has more than mere parity. Also now Indian Army has more than an Armoured Brigade of heavy tanks and is in process to deploy specialized light tanks.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar recently said that the NDA government’s focus in its third term will be to resolve pending issues with China along the LAC. “In the case of China, our focus will the situation on the border – there are still some issues pending and how we can resolve them,” he had said.