Jammu and Kashmir: Meet the Indian Army’s mules that carry all the material for the winter months to these forward posts on top of the Himalayan mountains which remain disconnected for at least 6 months because of heavy snowfall. The lifeline of the Indian Army forward posts on the Line of Control which is about 14-15 thousand feet above sea level on the peaks of the Himalayan mountains are the specially trained army, mules.
Many forward posts get disconnected from the rest of the valley in winter due to snowfall. Have you ever thought about how the supplies like rations, arms and ammunition, and construction materials are sent to these posts It is the Indian army’s Mules that carry all the material for months to these forward posts on top of the Himalayan mountains
The process of sending material to these forward posts started in the- May. If these mules were not there in these higher reaches, it would be very difficult for the Indian army to carry material from one area to another.
Rajesh Kumar, CO Military Field Veterinary Hospital, said ‘The Border Posts of ours near the line of control are at a very high altitude and there are no roads to reach to some of these posts, there has been a lot of improvement in the road connectivity from the last few years. When the mountains are fully covered with feet of snow, without these mules it is very difficult to live.
These mules are the lifeline for the Indian army as they are carrying all the supplies, arms and ammunition, construction material, and food material to these posts. We maintain these mules and we send these mules to different posts and areas depending on what is required where. We start the process in the month of April-May as the snow starts to melt, we carry on these tasks till the first snowfall in October-November. The movement during the snowfall is impossible and there is only movement by helicopter services.’
These mules have been kept in the Indian army to help carry material in areas that have no access to roads. The breeding of these mules is done in an army school and later trained before being sent to these higher reaches to carry out the tasks.
Some of the army men call these mules the unsung heroes of the Indian army. Special food is given to these mules so that they stay healthy and can easily carry out the given tasks. These supplies of around 5 months are carried by these mules to these forward posts.
‘These mules have been kept by the Indian army to reach the places which have no roads, The supplies are carried till the area where there is road connectivity and then it is with the help of these mules that we carry supplies to the forward post on the peak of the mountains.
We train these mules in the Pattan area and they are sent here where we carry out a task from here. We carry supplies for the next six months in these areas as they get cut off due to the snowfall. We have a ration scale for these mules exactly like the soldiers. We give them Barley 2.55 Kgs, Chana 1 Kg, Linseed 75gms are given per day to these mules. And we feed them thrice a day, For breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
During the Kargil war, these mules managed to carry supplies to posts at a height of over 19000 ft from sea level. Each Mule of the Indian army carries a load of 100 kgs and can cover 40kms in a day.