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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Army confirms lac exercise, ‘op alert’ to last 3 weeks

Arun Joshi , Hindustan Times  Leh, September 16, 2009
First Published: 19:15 IST(16/9/2009) | Last Updated: 23:49 IST(16/9/2009)
The Indian Army on Wednesday confirmed its heightened presence on India’s border with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Hindustan Times reported on September 14 that troops and 105-mm artillery guns were being ferried to points close to the LAC.

An army officer said on condition of anonymity that the exercise had been named “Operation Alert” and a division (about
14,000-15,000 men and officers) of the army was involved in the exercise.

He said, “The exercise has begun and it will last for another two to three weeks.”

Asked whether the Chinese authorities were informed about the exercise, he said, “It is for the Ministry of External
Affairs to do so.”

The 646-km-long stretch of the LAC that falls within the Ladakh region, about 260 km northeast of Jammu and Kashmir capital Srinagar, has recently been in the news because of Chinese incursions.

The army and the government, however, maintain that incursions by both sides are routine events due to differences in perception about the LAC. But there are anxieties that repeated incursions could mean Beijing’s hardening of stand on the border issue.

The local resident, especially in the areas close to the LAC, told Hindustan Times that they had not seen such activities in recent years.

The incursions also come at a time when Beijing had expressed its objection to the proposed visit of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, to Tawang in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is another point of dispute
between India and China.


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