NEW DELHI: Amidst the tension between India and China stand off at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, China on Saturday announced that they would base 20 martial arts trainers in Tibet's Lhasa. The move comes across as a tactic and as an acknowledgement that their troops are weak in hand to hand combat at higher altitudes, according to army officers.
An Army officer said, "Their collective loss at the physical combat at Galwan and earlier at the Finger 4 has compelled them to send martial arts trainers." He sees this act of publizing the announcement as part of a mindgame.
"The answer lies in the move getting announced merely days after the deadly clash on June 15," the officer added.
In the June 15 clash at Patrolling Point 14, both sides faced casualties - of which India made public that 20 soldiers were killed while China kept the casualities on their side, a secret.
Clashes had taken place thrice before this on the intervening night of May 5 and 6, and on May 14, and on 31, sources said.
The 1996 agreement between the two countries prevent the use of guns within the confines of two kilometers from the LAC.
The Ghatak Platoon
In the case of the Indian Army, specifically, the Infantry Units - there is a large number of soldiers trained in the art of Unarmed Combat (UAC).
Every Infantry Unit has a team - the Ghatak Platoon - for special tasks. They comprise of the fittest among the fit from the Unit and are Commando Course-qualified, which exposes them to the intricacies of the Unarmed Combat (UAC).
“It is compulsory for every officer of the Infantry and a large number of soldiers to complete 43 days of grueling training at the Commando School in Belgaum, Karnataka,” said the officer.
The officer added that training periods are without breaks and include a week-long capsule of UAC which is a compulsory part of a "successful" training.
The Ghatak Platoon inducts only a few new soldiers every year. There are 30 to 40 new recruits in the unit while those who are replaced also stay with the unit to fulfil other requirements.
Thus every unit has a large number of soldiers trained in the basics of UAC.
Giving an edge to the Indian Army during operations in the high-altitude areas - like the Ladakh situation - are the large number of troops who join from mountain states.
Ladakh, where the ongoing stand off is taking place, is fortified by its own Regiment, which comprises of natives who are competent for battles at high altitudes. They are also the youngest among the Indian Army Regiments.