Army Chief Gen MM Naravane Wednesday visited forward areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh (LAC) where India and China have been engaged in an over seven-month-long military standoff.
Naravane assessed the situation at strategic points such as Rechin La as well as the living conditions of the troops of the XIV Corps, also known as the Fire and Fury Corps, who oversee the LAC in eastern Ladakh, the Army said in a statement.
Rechin La is one of several areas in the Chushul sub-sector where Indian troops have taken up positions at altitudes of over 14,000 feet. The altitude and the arid region, where temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius, make for an extremely harsh environment for soldiers.
In the pictures from the forward areas, Army tanks are visible behind Naravane.
The Army chief also “visited forward base Tara and interacted with the local commanders and troops”, the statement said. He distributed sweets and cakes ahead of Christmas.
During his visit to the headquarters, the Army chief was given a detailed brief about the ground situation.
Nearly 50,000 soldiers are stationed on each side in eastern Ladakh, with the ninth round of Corps Commander talks awaited. This is for the first time that such a large number of troops have been positioned in such rough conditions through the winter.
While India has sent a memo to China, a response for the next round of talks between the senior military commanders is awaited. As of now, there is no sign of disengagement or de-escalation from either side.
India has been demanding status quo ante—or for the troops from the frontlines and depth areas, along with additional artillery, tanks and air defence assets, to be sent back to the positions they occupied in April.
China, however, has been asking for Indian troops to first vacate the heights they occupied towards the end of August in the Chushul sub-sector—including Mukhpari, Gurung Hill, Rezang La and Rechin La. These areas give Indian troops a direct view of China’s Moldo Garrison and the crucial Spanggur Gap, allowing them to dominate the area. India has said that any disengagement will have to be across all friction points.
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