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5 Indian Army personnel lost their lives in Ladakh when their tank became stranded in river

Early on Saturday morning, tragedy struck as five Indian Army personnel lost their lives during a routine military training exercise involving tanks at the Daulat Beg Oldie area in eastern Ladakh.

The exercise required crossing the Shyok River, a tributary of the Indus River in northern Ladakh.

According to officials, a troop of Russian-origin T-72 tanks was participating in a fording exercise when one of the tanks encountered difficulties due to strong currents and a sudden rise in water levels. While the leading tank successfully crossed the river, the unfortunate incident occurred when at least one tank drifted and became immobilized in the river, leading to the fatalities of the army personnel.

The Army’s 14 Corps, responsible for the Ladakh sector, reported that the tank got stuck near Saser Brangsa due to the sudden increase in water levels during the de-induction phase of the military training activity. Despite prompt rescue efforts, the high water currents posed challenges, resulting in the tragic loss of lives.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh expressed deep sorrow over the incident, highlighting the exemplary service of the soldiers and extending heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.

Since the 2020 Galwan Valley clashes, there has been heightened deployment of armored vehicles in the strategic DBO area near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Aksai Chin. Initially, one brigade of tanks was stationed there, later increased to two brigades with additional battalions to bolster defensive capabilities and readiness in the region.

The ongoing military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh has seen various friction points, including Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso, where buffer zones have been established to manage tensions.

Despite recent reductions in troop numbers during the winter months, a substantial withdrawal is expected upon resolution of remaining issues such as Depsang Plains and Demchok.

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