Army chief General Naravane reviews troop preparedness in forward areas along LAC
Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Wednesday visited areas in eastern Ladakh, including the south bank of Pangong Lake, and reviewed the preparedness of troops at the forefront of a nearly eight-month standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Naravane, who reached the forward areas at 8.30 am, visited troops of XIV Corps, popularly known as the “Fire and Fury Corps” and part of the Udhampur-based Northern Command. Besides making a first-hand assessment of the situation on the disputed border, he inspected accommodation created for the frontline troops to cope with the harsh winter.
Among the areas visited by Naravane was Rechin La, one of the regions on the south bank of Pangong Lake where Indian troops occupied strategic heights in an operation during August 29-30 to pre-empt moves by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to unilaterally change the status quo along the LAC.
Lt Gen PGK Menon, who took over as commander of the Leh-based XIV Corps in October, and senior army officers received the army chief at a forward airbase.
“General MM Naravane #COAS visited forward areas of #FireandFury Corps including Rechin La and undertook a first-hand assessment of the situation along the LAC,” the army said in a string of tweets. Naravane was briefed by Menon and other local commanders on the operational preparedness of the forces.
Naravane carried out an inspection of the accommodation for troops on the forward line of defences at Rechin La, and appreciated efforts made by the formation to make troops comfortable along the LAC. He also visited forward base Tara and appreciated the “high morale and state of readiness” while interacting with local commanders and troops.
During these interactions, the army chief exhorted troops deployed in forward areas to “continue working with same zeal and enthusiasm”. He also distributed sweets and cakes to the troops ahead of Christmas before returning to New Delhi in the evening.
India and China held their latest round of diplomatic talks on the standoff along the LAC on December 18, after a gap of more than two months, though there were no signs of an immediate breakthrough. Following the meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs, the two sides agreed to hold another meeting of senior army commanders in order to work towards complete disengagement and de-escalation at all friction points along the LAC in line with existing agreements and protocols.
India mobilised close to 50,000 troops in mountainous forward areas in eastern Ladakh, who have now dug in for the winter in sub-zero temperatures. China has arrayed a similar number of forces on its side of the LAC.