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Disengagement not de-escalation: Army Chief says India to maintain troop levels along China border

And till that happens, he added, India will continue to maintain an enhanced troop presence along the length of the border with China.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 20, 2021 12:38:09 am
Army Chief Gen. M M Naravane. (Express Photo/File)

India and China have not violated the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Tso but de-escalation is yet to take place, Army Chief General M M Naravane said on Wednesday. And till that happens, he added, India will continue to maintain an enhanced troop presence along the length of the border with China.

The Army Chief said India has around 50,000-60,000 troops in the eastern Ladakh region.

In an interview with CNN News18, Naravane denied that talks with China had reached an impasse.

“The situation along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) post the disengagement of February has been very cordial. Both sides are observing that disengagement in letter and spirit. There has been no transgression of any kind.”

He said talks are continuing and after the Corps Commanders met on April 9, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination meeting has to take place.

Since the disengagement, which was restricted to the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, in February, “with no transgressions happening with no violations of this disengagement, I think the trust has built up”, said Naravane.

“Because of that build-up in the trust maybe we will be able to make forward movement in the other areas where issues are still to be resolved. This is a continuous process, which will take time but will happen.”

Naravane said that the troop levels continue to be what they were at the height of stand-off.

He said while there has been disengagement, there has been no de-escalation. He: “The whole of the northern front from eastern Ladakh down till Arunachal Pradesh will see this enhanced presence till such time that we keep talking and the de-escalation happens”.

Naravane also dismissed reports of more clashes in Galwan in early May.

On India and China developing their infrastructure in the depth area, Naravane said: “When you’re deployed you don’t want to be deployed in harsh conditions or substandard facilities for months to come. China too is also improving his facilities and his infra his storage and so are we.”

In a statement to ANI news agency, Naravane said Wednesday that both India and China “come to our training areas during this particular period” but “there has been no movement in any areas where we have disengaged from”.

Naravane told CNN News18 that nearly 90 per cent of the personnel of the Army have got both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, while 97 per cent have got one dose.

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