The Indian Army will continue to deal with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a firm and resolute manner in eastern Ladakh army Chief General MM Naravane said on Wednesday.
On the standoff along the eastern front at LAC Chief said: “We are much better prepared to meet any challenge that is thrown up at us. Major efforts are undertaken to see what all dual-use infrastructure is there which can be made use of. Necessary safeguards are in place to take care of any contingencies. Upgradation and development of infrastructure along the northern borders have been carried out in a holistic and comprehensive manner.”
Gen. Naravane said the deployment of a large number of PLA forces by the Chinese in eastern Ladakh is the root cause of the situation. Now that they are there and have made a lot of infrastructure, it remains to be seen whether they will permanently station themselves there, or whether they will be amenable to some kind of de-induction in the times to come.”
He also said China has been upgrading its infrastructure along the LAC, but that is being matched equally by the Indian side.
On 14th Round of Military Commanders’ Talks
While at the same time, the 14th round of commander-level talks with China were also held today where both sides were trying to break the deadlock. Chief put it across that India and China have been working on “mutual disengagement” and there have been positive developments, but the “threat” is very much high, Army chief General MM Naravane told reporters today. The 14th round of commander-level talks between the two neighbours were also held today.
“The 14th round of the Corps Commander level talks is underway, and I am hopeful that you shall see further developments in the days ahead. But while there has been partial disengagement, the threat has by no means reduced,” he told reporters in the virtual address on the occasion of Army Day.
He further said, “We will continue to deal with Chinese PLA in a firm and resolute manner. We have continued to maintain the highest level of operational preparedness while at the same time engaging with Chinese PLA in dialogue.”
Despite the many rounds of high level diplomatic and military talks, deadlock continues. It all started when the Chinese troops started breaking the well-established status quo along the LAC in the Eastern Ladakh. It led to the massive build-up of armies along the line and the ever-increasing possibility of serious conflicts between two emerging powers. The points of Chinese encroachment are the plains of Depsang areas at PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13 which were earlier easily accessible to Indian Armies. India demands the withdrawal of Chinese armies and to restore the status quo.
Another aspect of the standoff is the China’s new border law which came into effect on January 1. On October 23, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, passed a new law citing “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas. The committee had stated that the new law will come into effect from January 1. Strangely enough, in another unilateral move, China has sought to change the contested areas at the Line of Actual Control. Again on December 30, 2021 China renamed 15 places of Arunachal Pradesh in their map. MEA raised strong objection and rejected it while the talks are on to resolve the contested areas at LAC. Chief said: China’s new border law will have no bearing on the bilateral relations, and India does not accept it as such.
He further added: “The Army is more than adequately prepared to handle it with all the capability enhancements and rebalancing of forces it has undertaken in the last one-and-a-half year.”
“As far as military ramifications are concerned, we are still looking into that aspect. Should there be any likely fallout in the military domain, we are more than adequately prepared to deal with it with whatever steps we have taken and rebalancing (of forces) we have carried out,” he said.
As in the past, China has illegally occupied about 38,000 sq km of India’s territory in Aksai Chin, which borders eastern Ladakh. While in 1963, Pakistan ceded to China about 5,180 sq km from the Indian territory illegally occupied by it.