At the Chandigarh airbase, the Indian Air Forceâ€™s C-17 Globemaster is airlifting precious cargo to Ladakh, one painstaking sortie at a time. Its Tâ€“ 90 tank weighs 46 tonnes and a one-way trip will cost over Rs 10 lakh.
From across army cantonments and airbases in North India, troops, artillery guns, mechanised infantry, air surveillance radars, frontline fighter jets and helicopters have been moving to Ladakh for the last one month. By the time the last boot hits the ground, there will be 45,000 acclimatised soldiers in Indiaâ€™s newest Union Territory.
All three advanced landing grounds - DBO, Fukche and Nyoma - have been activated. So have all forward airbases facing China. The Navyâ€™s multitasker, the P-8I, is in the sky keeping an eye on Chinese movement. Patrolling has been tightened at 65 points along the 1597-km border that Ladakh shares with China.
This war-like build up necessitated as Indian and Chinese soldiers continue to be eyeball to eyeball at the Line of Actual Control at Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, Depsang Plains and Pangong Tso in Ladakh and at Naku La in North Sikkim.