Army Chief General MM Naravane, who is on a one-day trip to eastern Ladakh on Wednesday, also visited the forward areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where India and China are involved in an over seven-month-long military standoff.
The Indian Army said that Naravane “visited forward areas of Fire and Fury Corps including Rechin La and undertook a first-hand assessment of the situation along the LAC”. Fire and Fury Corps, or the XIV Corps is responsible for the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Army said that he “undertook on the spot inspection of the state of the habitat of troops on the forward line of defences at Rechin La”.
Rechin La is one of the several areas in the Chushul sub-sector, and the north bank of Pangong Tso, where Indian troops are sitting on positions higher than 14,000 feet. The altitude and the arid region, where temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius, provide a very harsh climate for the soldiers.
The Army chief also “visited forward base Tara and interacted with the local commanders and troops”, Army mentioned.
In the pictures from the forward areas, Army tanks are visible behind Naravane.
As the trip comes just ahead of Christmas, Naravane “distributed sweets and cakes to soldiers”, Army said.
During his visit to the headquarters, the Army chief was given a detailed brief about the ground situation.
Nearly 50,000 soldiers each from India and China are stationed in eastern Ladakh, even as the ninth round of Corps Commander talks are awaited. It is for the first time that such a large number of troops are positioned in such a tough climate through the winters.
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 are no signs of disengagement and eventual de-escalation from either side.
India has been demanding status quo ante, or for the troops from the frontlines and from the depth areas, along with the additional artillery, tanks and air defence assets to be sent back to their April positions.
However, China has been asking for Indian troops to first vacate the heights they occupied in August end in the Chushul sub-sector, including Mukhpari, Gurung Hill, Rezang La and Rechin La, as it provides India a direct view of China’s Moldo Garrison and the strategically important Spanggur Gap, allowing the Indian troops to dominate the area. India has said that any disengagement will have to be across all friction points.
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