By Zaffar Iqbal
Even as India has made it clear that Chinese have not entered the Indian territory or captured any posts, on the ground in Ladakh, the veterans and porters who have stood to external aggressions in the past say if need be they are ready to fight for the country at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
In Ladakh veterans who played a pivotal role in the previous escalations with China and Pakistan are reminiscing about the times gone by. They say they may not be in service anymore but their passion to serve the country remain strong as ever.
Veteran Honorary Captain Tashi Chhepal contributed in evicting the Pakistanis from the mountain peaks during the Kargil conflict. A feat that won him the Vir Chakra. He says the current stand off has stark similarities with the 1999 Kargil conflict. He is angry about the loss of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan valley.
“During 1962 China war, we didn’t have enough equipment, but we have a very advanced army,” he says. “It is sad though that soldiers got killed in the Galwan Valley.”
He said the soldiers should have the full liberty to use arms when they come under such an aggression.
“If the jawans don’t use these weapons when they are getting killed, when would they?” he asked.
Ladakhis have scripted stories of bravery and valour fighting as regular soldiers or as volunteers helping to move materials on the mountain tops and stand against the adversary be it the Indo-China war of 1962 or the Kargil conflict of 1999.
Retired Hawaldar Tsering Angdus said he served the army for 22 years and has patrolled the Galwan Valley and other sensitive spots at the LAC in the past.
He says China always had its eyes fixed on the Indian territories at the LAC but India will never allow the Chinese to infringe on its sovereignty.
He says if orders come by he will fight shoulder to shoulder with the army.
“I am trained in using weapons, whenever need arises I would be ready to serve my country again on the frontline,” he said.