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

Left to himself, Nitin A. Gokhale would rather watch films and sports matches but his day job as a media entrepreneur, communications specialist, analyst and author, leaves him little time to indulge in his primary interests. Gokhale in fact started his career in journalism in 1983 as a sports reporter. Since then he has, in the past 41 years, traversed the entire spectrum across print, broadcast and digital space. One of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Gokhale has moved on from conventional media to become an independent media entrepreneur running three niche digital platforms—BharatShakti, StratNewsGlobal and Interstellar—besides undertaking consultancy and training workshops in communications for military institutions, corporates and individuals. Now better known for his conflict coverage and strategic analyses, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years between 1983 and 2006, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 and also brought us live coverage from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009.    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, Australia, South and South-East Asia to take part in various seminars and conferences. Gokhale is also a popular visiting faculty at India’s Defence Services Staff College, the three war colleges, India's National Defence College, College of Defence Management and the IB’s intelligence school.