Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Siachen keeps the "Door To Central Asia Open"

This is a phrase I hear repeated in various circles about India's defensive posture in the glaciated region.

I do not know of any plan to open a land route through the Karakoram Pass. Per my understanding there simply isn't enough trade volume to justify the expense of constructing a route in that adverse a terrain.

So my understanding of this is that "Keeping the door to Central Asia Open" is some sort of flowery language that is being used to mask some other logistical security issue in the region.

One other view that I have heard in Indian Army circles is that if the Army does not dominate the Saltoro Ridge, then the Pakistan Army could take Dzingrulma in a creeping infiltration. Once PA has artillery positioned at Dzingrulma, then can dominate the Nubra valley all the way down to Sasoma.

The importance of Sasoma is sometimes lost in all the noise about the SSN-DBO road and the usual fanfare that accompanies the landing of a C130J or the flight of a Searcher drone at Daulat Beg Oldi strip.

There is a road that goes west from Sasoma toward Murgo La. Just before reaching Murgo Village, it crosses the Shyok river. This road is not all weather and cannot sustain a large material transport on it, but in a pinch one could move material over it and then along the Shyok and get it to DBO airfield.

The only other supply route in the region is the SSN-DBO road, and it is exposed to possible action by PLAAF and PLAGF artillery.

I suspect that the "keeping the door to Central Asia" talk is about protecting the Sasoma-Murgo La link.


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