NEW DELHI: After Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, the Army has now kicked off the plan to acquire six fast patrol boats and eight landing craft assault for other water bodies in border areas like Sir Creek and Brahmaputra river basin as well as 118 integrated surveillance and targeting systems for mechanized forces.
The move comes after the Army over the last two years has inducted new specialized boats for patrolling Pangong Tso, the 134-km long lake at an altitude of 13,900-feet in eastern Ladakh, where troop disengagement with China took place on the two banks in February 2021.

The new initial tenders or RFIs (request for information) issued by the Army on Monday for six fast patrol boats and eight landing craft assault are meant for deployment in areas like Sir Creek in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat as well as Brahmaputra river and Sundarban delta areas of West Bengal.

The Army said the fast patrol boats, capable of carrying eight fully-armed soldiers, should be “rugged and versatile to facilitate seamless execution of small team insertion, surveillance, reconnaissance and patrolling”.
The landing craft assault, in turn, should be capable of carrying 35 soldiers with weapons and equipment for patrolling, fast attack and interception across a varying matrix of terrain and operating conditions. The last date to respond to the RFIs for the patrol boats and landing assault craft is November 28.

At Pangong Tso, the Army has inducted 12 fast patrol boats with advanced surveillance gear and other equipment under a Rs 65 crore contract with defence PSU Goa Shipyard.
Similarly, 17 troop-carrying, flat-bottom fibreglass boats were inducted from a private shipyard at Goa, which also supplies such vessels to the Navy. These boats can swiftly transport around 20 soldiers from one location to another on the brackish lake.

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Amid the continuing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, which is now set to enter the fourth successive winter, the People’s Liberation Army has built two bridges on the part of the Pangong lake it controls as well as new troop shelters and jetties near the “no patrol buffer zone” created after the troop disengagement.

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