India deploys new docks, upgrades speedboats for Pangong Tso patrol

The Army has deployed new landing docks and speedboats for patrolling on the Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, matching the Chinese deployments on the lake.

This is part of an overall capability enhancement and infrastructure development taken up by India since the 2020 stand-off to plug deficiencies and catch up with the Chinese build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“The induction has given huge impetus to our patrolling capability and we now have boats which match the adversary,” a defence source said.

The landing crafts are capable of carrying 35 troops or one jeep and 12 personnel, while the speedboats can reach speeds of 35 knots, the source stated.

In early 2021, the Army signed two contracts for the landing crafts and speedboats which were delivered in the second half of 2021.

A ₹65-crore contract was signed for 12 specialised patrol craft with Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL). The second contract for 17 troop-carrying, flat-bottom fibreglass landing docks was signed with a private manufacturer, also in Goa.

The new landing crafts have also been deployed at Sir Creek in Gujarat facing Pakistan, sources stated.

Pangong Tso has been an area of constant friction between India and China for a long time. India holds one-third of the 135-km-long boomerang shaped lake.

The lake, a glacial melt, has mountain spurs of the Chang Chenmo range jutting down referred to as ‘fingers’ and the brackish water lake freezes in winter.

India has always held until Finger 4 while it claims till Finger 8, which is where the Indian perception of the LAC lies.

The north bank of the lake, which has a much more higher difference in perception of the LAC than the south bank, was the initial site of the clash in May 2020, the beginning of the stand-off. The Indian Army has a permanent position near Finger 3.