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Nyoma, Hanle & The China Threat: Armoured Corps, Artillery And A Dash Of Astronomy In Eastern Ladakh

On-the-ground reports from Eastern Ladakh on the China threat

In The Himalayan Frontier, Episode XI, StratNews Global documents Nyoma, Hanle & The China Threat in Eastern Ladakh. The military is in the fourth winter of heightened deployment since the deadly India-China Galwan clashes in 2020. We travel from Siachen through Diskit in the Nubra Valley, back to Leh and, then south-eastwards to Nyoma and Hanle. In Nyoma, we film the Indian Army’s T-90 and T-72 tanks, the Dhanush, K-9 Vajra as well as BMP Infantry Combat Vehicles that are part of the force posture at these 13,000+ feet altitudes and minus forty-degree temperatures. We also travel to the Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground, which the Border Roads Organisation(BRO)is upgrading to a fully-fledged air base. Senior Indian Air Force (IAF) and BRO officers explain why the base is a game-changer.

Nyoma, Hanle & The China Threat
From Nyoma, we visit Hanle, where a ramped-up deployment is also evident from our last trip in 2020. We witness how soldiers’ lives have changed in their living quarters at these heights in freezing temperatures. That’s because of SHILA- the Solar Heated Insulated Ladakhi Shelters.

From the Indian military’s Shakti to Buddhism’s Shanti. We also document famous monasteries we pass, from Diskit to Hanle. And see success stories of the Indian Army’s Operation Sadhbhavna or ‘Goodwill’ initiative. The project aims to connect with locals through civic action programmes funded by the government.

And finally, we visit India’s first dark sky reserve. The Indian Institute of Astrophysics Observatory, at an altitude of 14,764 ft on Mt. Saraswati in Hanle.

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Other episodes in the series:

Firstly, an exclusive interview with the then Northern Army Commander, now Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen. Upendra Dwivedi. In Episode I, he tells StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin Gokhale that the “situation is stable but sensitive and not normal”. Secondly, the Indian Army Chief, General Manoj Pande speaks to Nitin Gokhale in an exclusive interview in Episode II. He points out that talks with China are continuing at both military and diplomatic levels. But also notes India is maintaining a robust posture along the LAC. Thirdly, Part III documents India’s Infra Thrust To Ladakh In Countering China & Pakistan in a ground report. Episode IV documents The Nimu-Padam-Darcha (NPD) Road: Critical Connectivity To The China-Pakistan Himalayan Fronts In Ladakh. Also, in Part V: The Director General of the Border Roads Organisation, Lt General Raghu Srinivasan speaks to us on the frozen Zanskar River ‘Chadar’ trail.

Additionally,  Episode VI is on The Indian Air Force & The China-Pakistan two-front Ladakh Threat. An interview with the Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Leh, Air Commodore D.S.Handa. Part VII is an on-the-ground report on The Indian Air Force’s China Challenge In Ladakh And A Slice Of Tibet. In Episode VIII: The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhuri speaks exclusively to Nitin A. Gokhale. And, in Part IX, we document the Siachen Glacier—A Triangular Wedge In The Pakistan, China Threat At The World’s Third Pole. In Part X, we document India’s northernmost Air Base at Thoise and its criticality against the China-Pakistan two-front threat.

This episode was aired on May 11, 2024. It has 100,000+ views on May 20.