India has deployed K9 Vajra 155mm self-propelled howitzers in Ladakh region
According to a Tweet published by the Indian Defense News on May 29, 2021, India has deployed K9 Vajra 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers in the Ladakh region.
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Indian army K9 Vajra 155mm self-propelled howitzer in the Ladakh region. (Picture source Twitter account Indian Defense News)
Ladakh is a region administered by India as a union territory and constitutes a part of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947.
Beginning on 5 May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops engaged in aggressive melee, face-offs and skirmishes at locations along the Sino-Indian border, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Citing the Indian Express website, the Indian Army, engaged in a military stand-off with the Chinese army for more than a year, has developed infrastructure and now the capability to accommodate a large number of troops in the habitats that have been built in the Ladakh sector and other areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China continues to deploy troops near the Eastern Ladakh sector. The Chinese have been coming to these areas for many years where they hold their exercises in summer time. The forces deployed by the Indian side in Ladakh include the Indo Tibetan Border Police, Indian Air Force, and Indian Army which is now at the forward most locations in the sector.
In February 2021, it was announced that India has deployed the first K-9 Vajra 155mm self-propelled howitzers for trials in the high-altitude mountainous area of Ladakh.
South Korean company Hanwha Techwin joined hands with Indian conglomerate Larsen and Toubro Limited to supply 100 K9 for the Indian Army Howitzer competition. In September 2015, Larsen and Toubro emerged as the finalist for an US$800 million contract to supply 100 K9 Vajra 155mm self-propelled howitzers to the Indian Army.
The K9 Vajra is a variant of the South Korean K9 specially designed for operation in desert areas. The K9 is a self-propelled howitzer based on a tracked armored chassis. This artillery vehicle is armed with a 155mm / 52 caliber cannon. It has a burst rate of fire of three rounds per 15 seconds and a maximum rate of fire of six to eight rounds a minute for three minutes. It has a maximum firing range of 40 km.