, Nirupama Subramanian
Updated: November 29, 2020 8:08:02 am
“General Winter”. That is the name historians gave to the adversary who routed both Napoleon and Hitler in Russia, more than a century apart from each other.
As the Indian and Chinese armies deployed at the Line of Actual Control eyeball each other, sometimes separated by just hundreds of metres, they are up against the same formidable foe, in a way that ambitious military campaigners of previous centuries might not have imagined. Eastern Ladakh is no Russia. Here the peaks go up to 18,000 ft and more. The winter deployment of more than 100,000 soldiers belonging to two armies, strung out over 872 km, is simply without parallel in military history.
“The first problem faced by a soldier in Ladakh is survival, fighting the enemy comes next… The peculiar geography has a major impact on the fighting and its outcome” — these are the opening sentences of the Fighting in Ladakh chapter of India’s official History of The Conflict with China, 1962, that was published more than three…