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Northern Army Commander visits Galwan on maiden Ladakh visit

Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi is on a five-day visit to Ladakh to review the ground situation.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
February 22, 2022 10:24:19 pm
Upendra DwivediUpendra Dwivedi with other army personnel (file photo)

Newly appointed Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi on Tuesday visited various forward points in eastern Ladakh, including Galwan Valley and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) near the Karakoram Pass, on his first visit to the region since taking charge early this month.

Dwivedi is on a five-day visit to Ladakh to review the ground situation.

The Northern Army Command tweeted on Tuesday that Dwivedi “visited ground zero in forward areas” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), “to review the security situation” in eastern Ladakh, which is the responsibility of the XIV Corps, also known as the Army’s Fire and Fury Corps.

“He interacted with all ranks of all security forces & appreciated the professionalism & operational response towards the evolving threat matrix (sic),” the tweet read.

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It also posted photographs of Dwivedi’s visit on the Indian side of the territory in Galwan Valley, the site of bloody clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in June 2020, resulting in the death of 20 Indian and at least 4 Chinese soldiers. Other photos showed him at the strategically sensitive base at Daulat Beg Oldie, which is north of the Depsang Plains, which also continues to remain a bone of contention between the two neighbouring countries.

Galwan has become a propaganda flashpoint of late, with China releasing images of its troops unfurling their national flag in the valley on New Year’s Day. India too released similar photographs a day later, with the tricolour, and the Dogra Regiment. Both the flags were also visible in the photographs tweeted on Tuesday.

During his visit that started on February 19, Dwivedi has ALSO been conducting an audit of infrastructure. Accompanied by XIV Corps commander Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta, Dwivedi also visited the Leh Air Force station.

The visit, his first since assuming charge, comes even as the talks for finding a resolution for the more than 22-month-long standoff with China in the region, which began in May 2020 are stuck in a stalemate.

The last round (14th) of corps commander-level talks took place on January 13, days after Sengupta had taken over as the XIV Corps commander.

A platoon-sized strength of soldiers from both sides are on the Indian side of the LAC at patrolling point 15 in Hot Springs. In Depsang Plains, Chinese soldiers are blocking the Indian troops at an area called the Bottleneck, preventing them from accessing PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13. In the Demchok area, some so-called civilians have pitched tents on the Indian side of the LAC and have refused to vacate.

Both sides continue to have more than 50,000 troops in the larger eastern Ladakh region, along with additional tanks, artillery and air defence assets.

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