South Asia and Beyond

‘Mountains Favour The Defender’

NEW DELHI: The India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh may be nowhere closer to resolution but India has the advantage by occupying tactical heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso. Mountains favor the defender; whoever occupies dominating heights is in control of the battle, says Siachen hero Lt Gen. Sanjay Kulkarni (Retd). At altitudes in excess of 16,000 feet, warfare assumes an entirely new dimension, he told StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale. Acclimatisation is the key and battle-hardened Indian troops are far better equipped than the Chinese, said Gen. Kulkarni, the first Indian army officer to land on the Siachen glacier in 1984 as part of ‘Operation Meghdoot’. With the current round of LAC standoff poised to extend into winter, Gen. Kulkarni said logistics will be the key. At those heights, you not only battle the enemy but also Nature; the wind chill factor makes it worse, he added.

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Nitin A. Gokhale

Author, thought leader and one of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Nitin A. Gokhale has forty years of rich and varied experience behind him as a conflict reporter, Editor, author and now a media entrepreneur who owns and curates two important digital platforms, and focusing on national security, strategic affairs and foreign policy matters. At the beginning of his long and distinguished career, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years, writing and analysing various insurgencies in the region, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 during the India-Pakistan war, and also brought live reports from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009. Author of over a dozen books on wars, insurgencies and conflicts, Gokhale relocated to Delhi in 2006, was Security and Strategic Affairs Editor at NDTV, a leading Indian broadcaster for nine years, before launching in 2015 his own digital properties. An alumni of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii, Gokhale now writes, lectures and analyses security and strategic matters in Indo-Pacific and travels regularly to US, Europe, South and South-East Asia to speak at various international seminars and conferences. Gokhale also teaches at India’s Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), the three war colleges, India's National Defence College, College of Defence Management and the intelligence schools of both the R&AW and Intelligence Bureau. He tweets at @nitingokhale


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