Defence minister Rajnath Singh in Leh amid India-China LAC stand-off
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Leh on Friday on a day-long visit to carry out a comprehensive review of the security scenario in the region amid the ongoing tension with China.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane are accompanying Singh on the visit. The defence minister visited Stakna forward areas after landing in Ladakh where the troops showed him paradropping skills of the armed forces.
The defence minister is on a two-day visit to Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. While he is in Ladakh on the first day of his visit today, the defence minister will go to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
Singh’s visit comes at a time when there is military tension between India and China in the sensitive sector.
Both the sides recently held the fourth round of talks on disengagement in eastern Ladakh. In the talks between corps commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies, that started on Tuesday and stretched into the early hours of Wednesday, both sides discussed the roadmap for further reducing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The focus of the latest round of military talks was to hammer out a consensus on easing tensions in the Finger Area near Pangong Tso and Depsang plains as well as pulling back weapons and equipment from friction points in other sectors, said people aware of the developments.
The previous attempts to reduce tensions along the contested border were made on June 6, June 22 and June 30.
Singh was expected to visit Ladakh in early July but his tour was deferred. The defence minister will be visiting Ladakh two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to the sector on July 3. The PM then declared that the “era of expansionism” is over, sending a strong signal to China about India’s determination to defend its borders.
The military is keeping a strict vigil on the western front to deter Pakistan from fishing in troubled waters and prevent what could turn out to be a two-front conflict, as reported by Hindustan Times on July 2.
The tension along the LAC began after 20 Indian soldiers were killed during a face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan valley on June 15.