How well trained are the 50,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army of China, facing the Indian Army in Ladakh? The two “captured” after they strayed on to the Indian side in October last year and in January this year respectively. suggest that many of them are conscripts and aren’t as well-trained and well-conditioned as they should be. One soldier, a corporal, had strayed across in October and the other, last month. Both were returned.
“First, they were drunk. Secondly, they hadn’t even tied their shoelaces. Thirdly, they were on their own. You can expect three or four or five soldiers together, carrying weapons. But with them, it looked like they had wandered out in the night and lost their way,” said a source.
It is right to suspect that they were spies, but there would have to a semblance of quality if they were involved in intelligence gathering. But a drunken man who stumbles towards the enemy positions in the middle of the night and found to be largely unskilled would not be particularly good when it comes to intelligence gathering. Their mobile phones didn’t suggest they were involved in intelligence gathering.
In recent weeks, China has been sending cultural troupes to the forward areas to entertain the troops and presumably, try and ensure morale remains high. Being conscripts, many troops are being rotated and readjusted. A large number of trucks have been spotted in the Finger area taking soldiers out and also bringing reinforcements. Some soldiers have also undergone psychological tets.
All this suggests, along with the high level of medical problems among Chinese soldiers, they aren’t very well-trained. Indian soldiers, on the other hand, are regulars who have volunteered to join the army and many thousands have had similar postings, particularly those who were sent to the Siachen Glacier.