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Army finalises deal to procure 12 patrol boats for surveillance of Pangong lake, other water bodies

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New Delhi: The Indian Army has finalised procurement of 12 high-performance patrol boats to enhance its surveillance of large water bodies, including the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh where India and China are locked in a bitter border standoff since early May. The Army said it inked a contract with Goa Shipyard Ltd, a state-run public sector undertaking, for 12 fast patrol boats for surveillance and patrolling of large water bodies, including those in high altitude areas.

“Delivery would commence from May 2021,” the Army tweeted.

Official sources said the boats are being procured for surveillance of Pangong lake as well as other water bodies in mountainous areas.

In a statement, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) said it signed a contract with the Indian Army for supply of the ‘high performance specialised patrol crafts’ on Thursday and that they will be fitted with specialised equipment to meet the requirement of the force.

“These craft will be constructed at GSL, Goa and will be only few crafts in the world for such specialized operations,” it said in a brief statement.

Nearly 50,000 Indian Army troops are deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures as multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded concrete outcome to resolve the standoff.

China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials.

The eighth and last round of military talks had taken place on November 6 during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.

Last week, Army Chief Gen MM Naranave visited various high-altitude forward areas in eastern Ladakh, including those around the Pangong lake, and reviewed India’s overall military preparedness.

Around three-and-half months back, Indian troops occupied a number of strategic heights in the Mukhpari, Rechin La and Magar hill areas around the southern bank of the Pangong lake after the Chinese military attempted to intimidate them in the area on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.

The Pangong lake and areas around it are considered very important. India has stepped up surveillance of the lake after the standoff began in early May.

The face-off began on May 5 following violent clashes between the two armies in the Pangong lake area. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.

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