India conducts large military exercises along the border with China
According to information released by the Financial Express website on July 18, 2020, India continues the deployment of combat vehicles and carried out military exercises using BMP-2Sarath IFV Infantry vehicles, T-90S main battle tanks as well as combat helicopters AH-64 Apache, HAL Rudra and Mi-17V5 along the border with China.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived at Stakna monastery in Leh on July 17, 2020. Indian soldiers carried out para dropping and large ground exercises at Stakna, a village in the Leh district of Ladakh, India. Defence Minister will visit forward areas of LAC and LoC during his two-day visit to Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The deployment of Indian soldiers and combat vehicles in the region is a response of the deployment of Chinese army with artillery, tanks and troops along the border with India.
The 2020 China–India skirmishes are part of an ongoing military standoff between China and India. Since 5 May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops have reportedly engaged in aggressive melee, face-offs and skirmishes at locations along the Sino-Indian border, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
On 21 May 2020, the Indian Express reported that Chinese troops had entered the Indian territory in the Galwan River valley and objected to the road construction by India within the (undisputed) Indian territory. The road under construction is a branch of the Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road (DSDBO) which leads into the Galwan valley.
For the Indian army, the Darbuk–Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road is very important. The 220-km long section between Shyok and DBO was constructed between 2000 and 2019 by India's Border Roads Organisation (BRO).Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road had reduced the travel time between Leh (Capital of Indian Union territory of Ladak) to Daulat Beg Oldie(DBO) from 2 days to 6 hours.
The Sarath is a Soviet-made BMP-2 tracked armored IFV produced under license in India. The vehicle is the backbone of the mechanized infantry unit of the Indian Army. The Sarath is similar to the Soviet-made BMP-2 except for the exhaust which is protected by steel plates.
The Sarath is fitted with a two-man turret armed with a stabilized 30 mm cannon 2A42 and a 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun mounted to the left of the main armament. The roof of the turret is alo equipped with a Tula 9K113 Konkurs (NATO code AT-5 ‘Spandrel’) ATGW (Anti-Tank Guided Weapon) launcher which has a maximum firing range of 4,000 m. This missile is manufactured in India by BDL (Bharat Dynamics Limited).
The T-90S is a Russian-made main battle tank also manufactured under license in India. The tank is called Bhishma in the Indian Army. The main armament of the T-90S MBT includes one 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, stabilized in two axes, and fitted with a thermal sleeve. The gun tube can be replaced without dismantling inside the turret. The gun's automatic loader will feed both ordnance and missiles offering a high rate of fire (up to 7 to 8 rounds per minute). The T-90S is also able to fire the 9M119 Refleks (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system with a range from 100 m to 4,400 m.