Army chief General Naravane reviews security in Eastern Ladakh

  • General Naravane visited forward areas in eastern Ladakh where he was briefed on the prevailing security situation and the army’s operational preparedness
General MM Naravane. (PTI)
General MM Naravane. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 02:07 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Friday visited forward areas in eastern Ladakh and reviewed security in a sensitive sector where the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a border standoff for almost 17 months and both sides are carrying out negotiations to cool tensions along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC), officials familiar with the matter said.

Naravane visited forward areas in eastern Ladakh where he was briefed on the prevailing security situation and the army’s operational preparedness, the army said in a statement. The army chief interacted with the troops and complimented them “for their resoluteness and high morale,” it added.

The two-day visit came barely two months after the rival armies carried out the second round of disengagement in early August and pulled back their forward deployed troops from Gogra or Patrol Point-17A, which was one of the friction points on the LAC. The breakthrough came after the 12th round of military talks held on August 2.

Earlier, India and China wrapped up the disengagement process in Pangong Tso area in mid-February, with both armies pulling back forward-deployed troops, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and artillery guns from strategic heights where rival soldiers last year fired shots for the first time at the LAC in 45 years. (The last recorded incident when bullets were fired at the LAC was in October 1975, when the PLA ambushed an Indian patrol in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tulung La and shot four soldiers dead).

Problems at Hot Springs and Depsang are yet to be resolved. To be sure, the problems at Depsang predate the current border standoff. Even after the disengagement from Pangong Tso and Gogra, the two sides still have 50,000 to 60,000 troops each in the Ladakh theatre. The dates for the 13th round of talks to discuss the other friction points along the LAC are yet to be announced.

The visit also came a day after the army chief said that developments along the LAC in Ladakh added to challenges faced by the Indian military on the “active and disputed borders” in the western and eastern fronts. The “unprecedented” military standoff with China required large-scale mobilisation of resources at a time when the country was grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, addressing the annual session of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

On Thursday, he also visited the Rezang La War Memorial in eastern Ladakh and paid homage to soldiers killed in action during the 1962 India-China war.

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