Army chief General M M Naravane, who has been reviewing operational preparedness in eastern Ladakh after Indian troops occupied heights to thwart Chinese manoeuvres, Friday said the situation along the Line of Actual Control is “tense”.
He said Indian actions have only been along the LAC — this was his way of countering Chinese allegations that Indian troops crossed the LAC last weekend.
In pre-emptive moves to scuttle Chinese plans, Indian troops raced to occupy heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso and Rechin La near Rezang La, giving them a commanding view of the terrain including the Spanggur Gap and the Chinese garrison at Moldo.
Indian and Chinese brigade commanders have been meeting regularly ever since, but the talks have not made much headway. The brigade commanders met for around three hours Friday, their fifth meeting since Monday.
The Army, General Naravane said in Leh, will ensure that the status quo is not changed unilaterally. “The situation along the LAC is tense. We have undertaken precautionary deployment in some areas. The troops are prepared for all contingencies that may arise. All these actions have been carried out only along the LAC,” he said.
He expressed confidence that India and China can find a resolution to the four-month military standoff via talks. “Over the past three months,” he said, “both sides are engaged in resolving the situation.”
Military and diplomatic channels, he said, are functioning and the “Indian side is firmly committed to resolve the current situation along the LAC through engagement. We will continue to utilise all existing mechanisms to reduce tension and to ensure that the status quo is not unilaterally changed”.
On his visit to eastern Ladakh to review the preparedness levels of the troops, General Naravane said he reached Leh Thursday morning “and spent time with the commanders and troops to make a first-hand assessment of the situation along our borders”.
“It was very satisfying to see our soldiers and local commanders in high morale and good health,” he said, adding it gave him “confidence that they are well prepared to safeguard the territorial integrity of our nation”.
The Indian Army, he said, “is known for its commitment and resolve” and “the nation can count on us”.
One of his visits was to the Chushul sector where Indian troops moved rapidly last weekend. In a statement, the Army said General Naravane “interacted with soldiers and local commanders deployed in difficult high-altitude forward areas” and “urged all ranks to remain vigilant and maintain a high order of operational readiness”.
At the XIV Corps headquarters in Leh, Lt General YK Joshi, Northern Army Commander, briefed the Army chief on the preparedness levels and the logistics arrangements for sustenance of forces, especially in the winter months.
General Naravane, the Army said, “expressed satisfaction on the efforts being made to ensure operational effectiveness and capability enhancement of the forces”.
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