- The Chushul sub-sector has come into focus in the standoff between the Indian and PLA troops following the movement that took place on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
What is the Chushul sub-sector?
- The Chushul sub-sector lies south of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.
- It comprises high, broken mountains and heights of Thatung, Black Top, Helmet Top, Gurung Hill, and Magger Hill besides passes such as Rezang La and Rechin La, the Spanggur Gap, and the Chushul valley.
- Situated at a height of over 13,000 feet close to the LAC, the Chushul Valley has a vital airstrip that played an important role even during the 1962 War with China.
What is its strategic importance to India?
- Chushul enjoys tremendous strategic and tactical importance because of its location and terrain, which make it a centre for logistics deployment.
- This sector has plains that are a couple of kilometres wide, where mechanised forces, including tanks, can be deployed.
- Its airstrip and connectivity by road to Leh add to its operational advantages.
- Indian troops have now secured the ridgeline in this sub-sector that allows them to dominate the Chushul bowl on the Indian side, and Moldo sector on the Chinese side.
- They also have a clear sight of the almost 2-km-wide Spanggur gap, which the Chinese used in the past to launch attacks on this sector in the 1962 War.
- India’s move has neutralised the advantage that China gained when it secured areas between Finger 4 and Finger 8 on the northern bank of the Pangong Tso.
How is Chushul important to China?
- Simply put, Chushul is the gateway to Leh.
- If China enters Chushul, it can launch its operations for Leh.
Did the Chinese try to capture Chushul in the 1962 War?
- After the initial attacks, including on the Galwan valley by the Chinese in October 1962, the PLA troops prepared to attack Chushul airfield and the valley to get direct access to Leh.
- However, just before the attacks were launched, the area was reinforced by the 114 Brigade in November 1962, which also had under its command two troops of armour and some artillery.
- It’s important to note that the heights secured by Indian soldiers on the intervening night of August 29-30 were held by them in 1962 as well.
- These included Lukung, Spanggur Gap, Gurung Hill, Rezang La, Magger Hill and Thatung Heights.