Ladakh : On Saturday, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said that Chinese troops have been deployed through Eastern Ladakh northern front, right up to India’s eastern command in huge numbers. He terms this as a matter of concern. There has been an increase in the PLA’s deployment.
Naravane was in Leh town where world’s largest Khadi national flag was installed on October 2, on the occasion of 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Naravane on Friday visited several forward areas in eastern Ladakh and carried out a comprehensive review of India’s operational preparedness in the backdrop of its military standoff with China. He was given a detailed briefing about the overall situation in the region at the headquarters known as the ‘Fire and Fury Corps’, that takes care of guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in the Ladakh region, officials said.
MM Naravane said, “Chinese (troops) have deployed in considerable numbers all across Eastern Ladakh and Northern Front right up to our Eastern Command. Definitely there has been an increase in their deployment in the forward areas, which remains a matter of concern for us.”
Army is monitoring their developments and working on the matter based on information they discover. MM Naravane said, “But we are monitoring all their developments. Based on whatever inputs we get we are carrying out matching developments in terms of infrastructure. At the moment, we are quite well poised to meet any eventuality,” he said, adding he doubts “any aggression can be shown in any area”.
On the first day of his two-day tour of the region, Gen Naravane visited the strategically sensitive Rezang-La area and visited a war-memorial there to pay homage to the soldiers who laid down their lives in defending the country, they said. The Chief of Army Staff also called on Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, Radha Krishna Mathur, and discussed the prevailing security scenario in the Union Territory.
Several reports had recently quoted sources as saying that China has put in place new modular container-based accommodations for its troops in several high-altitude forward areas on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in response to Indian deployment in the region. The shelters were installed in locations near Tashigong, Manza, Hot Springs and Churup among others, in reflection of simmering tensions between the two sides in the region, they said.
India expects to hold a 13th round of talks with China on the Ladakh standoff and disengagement of military forces next week. On achieving disengagement through dialogue, General Naravane said: “By and by, all friction points will get resolved. I am of the firm opinion that we can resolve our differences through dialogue. I am hopeful we will be able to achieve results. We’re hopeful of having the 13th round of talks in the second week of October and reaching a consensus on how disengagement will take place.”
On Friday, the General took stock of operational preparedness in Eastern Ladakh.
The Army has deployed the first K9-Vajra self-propelled howitzer regiment in the Ladakh sector, along the Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border with China. The gun can strike enemy targets at a distance of around 50 km. “These guns can also work in high-altitude areas; field trials were extremely successful. We have now added an entire regiment, this will be really helpful,” the Army Chief told.