Ready for any eventuality in eastern sector, monitoring PLA’s moves: Gen Kalita
Lieutenant General RP Kalita said the border issue with China is being dealt with at all levels to ensure there is no friction and a robust mechanism was in place to defuse any emerging situation or tension at the tactical level
NEW DELHI/KIBITHU: Eastern Army commander Lieutenant General RP Kalita said the army was fully prepared for any eventuality in the eastern theatre, focusing on upgrading military capability along the border with China and infrastructure development, and monitoring Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) activity across the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The border issue with China is being dealt with at all levels to ensure there is no friction. A robust mechanism is in place to defuse any emerging situation or tension at the tactical level. We are focusing on operational capability development in all spheres,” Kalita said.
His comments came on the sidelines of a function held at Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh on September 10 when the army base there was renamed after India’s first chief of defence staff, the late General Bipin Rawat.
The situation along LAC in the eastern sector is “reasonably calm and firmly under control,” Kalita said. “There have been reports of continued infrastructure development by PLA and we are constantly monitoring the same”.
Asked to comment on any visible impact of the ongoing standoff in Ladakh on the eastern sector, he said, the dynamics of Eastern and Northern Commands are totally different. “The terrain, size of area of operations, operational dynamics and objective of operations are all varied in a peculiar way. Till now, we have had cordial relations at the functional level of ground commander and there have been hardly any friction areas in the recent past in the east.”
The situation has been stable in the eastern theatre, he said.
The army, which has focused on counter-insurgency operations in the North-east for decades, has carried out an overarching reorientation of its forces to sharpen its focus on LAC in the eastern sector, even as induction of new weapons and systems, capability building and a strong infrastructure push form the bedrock of its strategy to counter China.
“The deployment of army for counter-insurgency duties is dictated by the security situation and the violence parameters. As the situation improves, the army is de-inducted and the Central Armed Police Forces/police take on the responsibility of ensuring peace and stability. In the North-east, with improvement in the situation, the army has got de-inducted and is geared for its the primary role,” Kalita said.
Infusion of latest technology is one of the army’s top priorities, and there has been substantial improvement in its surveillance capability with the induction of new platforms and systems, he said.
“Now with better infrastructure close to LAC, we are in a better position to observe our areas of interest. It is an ongoing process and with improvement in connectivity and infrastructure, we will further enhance our reach and depth of surveillance,” he added.
While the standoff is ongoing in eastern Ladakh, the eastern sector cannot be ignored, former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd) had earlier said. “Particularly in certain areas of Arunachal Pradesh, the road infrastructure is still inadequate. The push now being given to capability building and infrastructure will be a deterrent for any action by PLA in this sector,” he said.
Infantry battalions guarding LAC with China in Arunachal Pradesh are racing to equip themselves with new weapons and systems to sharpen their combat edge, with the capability upgrade encompassing light machine guns, assault rifles, rocket launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and high-tech surveillance gear.
Helipads, capable of operating multi-mission Chinook helicopters, are also coming up in remote pockets for faster deployment of soldiers and weaponry as part of an overarching infrastructure push, even as new satellite terminals along the border will provide high-capacity communications capability to plan operations, as earlier reported by HT.