Amid Chinese Reinforcements At LAC, Army Chief Visits Eastern Ladakh

SRINAGAR: Ahead of the thirteenth rounds of Sino-Indian border talks scheduled for mid-October, the army chief, General MM Naravene had to fly to Eastern Ladakh to review the situation after reports of additional Chinese deployments on the border, reports appearing in the media said.

The two day visit took place in wake of reports that the Chinese army has “deployed more troops in some of the friction points in Eastern Ladakh and also converted temporary shelters for the troops into concrete structures”. This essentially means that the army is bracing for yet another harsh winter over the Eastern Ladakh heights as the stand-off is protracted. This is despite the fact that there was disengagement at some of the points between the two sides.

Officials, however, said the army chief had flown to Leh to attend the unveiling of “Khadi national flag” that has been installed in Leh on the occasion of the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The one-ton 225×150 ft, 37500 sq ft Khadi flag is being seen as “the largest such national flag in the world”.

During the overnight stay, General Naravane visited Rezang La War Memorial in Eastern Ladakh and paid homage to the soldiers who fell in the line of duty. During the visit, the army chief was briefed on the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness.

Reports said the situation changed after Chinese officials accused India of following a “forward policy” and “illegally” encroaching Chinese territory. However, a spokesman of the MEA rejected the allegation, insisting Beijing was displaying “provocative” behaviour to alter the status quo along the LAC.

After flying from Ladakh, General Naravane told reporters that “huge deployment” of the Red Army along the LAC is “a matter of concern”.

Before leaving for Ladakh, the army chief had told a gathering at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry that India is ready to face any eventuality even though there are outstanding border issue.

“We are well prepared to meet any misadventure that may occur as we have demonstrated in the past. Such kinds of incidents will continue to occur till the time a long term solution is reached, that is to have a boundary agreement…,” the army chief was quoted saying. “That should be the thrust of our efforts so that we have lasting peace along our Northern borders.”

The General had already said that the “unprecedented developments” at northern borders have necessitated “large scale resource mobilisation, orchestration of forces and immediate response”.

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