Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Monday visited Ladakh and discussed operational issues with senior officers of the Air Force and the Army, amid the standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh.
The visits come at a time when both sides have reduced a certain number of troops from the region. Top sources in the Army said that a slight thinning in deployment by both sides began in December, but it was only in the depth areas and not from the frontlines.
Both sides have around 50,000 troops each in the region, along with additional air defence assets, artillery and tanks.
However, sources said China is continuing to build infrastructure near several friction points along the Line of Actual Control, including Galwan Valley and Spanggur Gap. A senior Army officer said that China is “consolidating” and is “digging its heels” by building infrastructure.
Another senior Army officer said that India too is building infrastructure on its side of the LAC, as how the events will pan out around April, May, when the summer begins, is not known yet.
While Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria visited Advanced Landing Grounds, including the strategically important Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), in the region on Monday, General Rawat is scheduled to visit the forward areas on Tuesday morning. The CDS received comprehensive briefings at the XV Corps Headquarters in Leh.
In a statement, the Air Force said that the Air Chief Marshal “undertook a visit to Air Force Stations and Advanced Landing Grounds in Ladakh” on Monday, and “interacted with field commanders and was briefed on the preparedness and status of deployed forces at air bases as well as in the forward areas. He also interacted with IAF and Indian Army personnel deployed at these locations”.
During his visit to Thoise, Air Force said, “he reviewed the ongoing logistic operations for support and sustenance of troops in the winter season” and visited “DBO and Nyoma ALGs where he was given a security overview in the respective sub-sectors”.
“Prior to his departure,” Air Force said that Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria “joined the CDS for a comprehensive discussion on operational matters with senior IAF and Indian Army Commanders at Air Force Station Leh”.
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