India is raising fuel supplies to the northern region of Ladakh as the military reinforces its presence in the area following deadly clashes with China last week.
State-controlled refiners led by IOC have increased supplies of diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosine and LPG by 15-20pc over usual volumes since the incident on 15 June. The fuel is shipped over 1,000km from refineries in Panipat, Mathura and Bhatinda, as well as from storage depots in Ambala, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Bhatinda.
The refiners typically transport an annual average of 2,000 b/d of transport fuels and LPG to the region. The fuel is shipped during the five months when roads in the remote area are serviceable and then stocked for the rest of the year. Roads become impassable in the winter and sometimes during monsoons, restricting access to the mountainous region.
IOC supplies a special winter-grade diesel product that does not freeze even when temperatures drop to as much as minus 33°C.
Delhi is increasing its troop strength and moving more planes and tanks to the region after Chinese soldiers killed at least 20 Indian army personnel last week. India and China have had conflicts along a disputed border for around 60 years, but the latest incident was the worst since 1962. The Chinese government has not said how many casualties it suffered.
Direct commodity trade between China and India is limited. But China’s total trade surplus with India rose to around $60bn last year, more than double the level in 2014 when Indian prime minister Narendra Modi came to power and sought to woo Chinese leaders and investors.