Summer Not The Ideal Time For War: Experts

New Delhi, May 25: | Updated: May 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
In the midst of active speculation about imminent war on the borders, the Indian army is said to have highlighted major problems faced by the troops in fighting a desert war this summer in a report to the government.

Defence ministry officials have said that the report has pointed out difficulties faced by the armoured regiments in particular in the desert regions. The daily temperature in the Thar desert averages between 45-47 degrees. Everyday, nearly 50 jawans are being hospitalised with sunstroke.

“The temperature of a tank increases by eight degree centigrade when it is started. When shelling commences, the temperature goes up by another five degrees centigrade inside the tank. “If there is a war today, a tank man will have to stand temperatures up to 58 degrees centigrade,” officials added. “This takes its toll.”

According to a former advisor to chief of army staff, Gen APS Chauhan, “What is central to all this is the lack of any policy or higher direction.”

He regretted that the government has not given any direction on what the army should prepare for and in what period “Why did we not cater for air conditioning in our new purchases of T-72 and upgrade our older fleet also. The older models of T series have only blowers,” Gen Chauhan said.

Sources in MoD officials said that temporary ammunition dumps constructed in the desert are also causing concerns. There are fears that badly designed dumps may explode in hot weather.

Whirlwinds are also causing major problems for the army in the desert. Desert whirlwinds rise several kilometres in height. They suck the sand all the way to the top. Helicopters that have been caught in the whirlwinds have been imperilled before. The army has ordered helicopter flights only in clean weather. Whirlwinds also destroy temporary roads laid by the army.