Army Chief begins Ladakh visit

Army Chief Gen MM Naravane began a two-day visit to Ladakh on Thursday to carry out a comprehensive review of the security situation in the region in view of China’s fresh attempts to change status quo along the southern bank of Pangong lake, official sources said.

Gen Naravane will be briefed about the evolving situation by top Army commanders overseeing deployment of troops as well as India’s combat readiness in the region, they said.

“The Chief of Army Staff is on a two-day visit to Leh to review operational

preparedness in Ladakh region,” said a source.

Tension escalated in the Pangong lake area after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy certain areas in the southern bank of Pangong lake following which India rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region.

On Monday, the Indian Army said the Chinese military carried out “provocative military movements” to “unilaterally” change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30 but the attempt was thwarted by the Indian troops.

Following the attempts, the Indian Army strengthened its presence in at least three strategic heights in the southern bank of Pangong lake.

Some “readjustments” in deployment of troops were also carried out on the northern bank of the Pangong lake on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as part of precautionary measures, the sources said.

Air Chief Marshal reviews IAF operational preparedness:

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday visited key air bases under the Eastern Air Command and reviewed the IAF’s combat readiness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in view of the heightened border tensions with China, officials said.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria asked the air warriors to maintain a very high-level of alertness considering the evolving situation in Pangong lake region in eastern Ladakh following China’s unsuccessful attempts to occupy certain strategic points in the area, the officials said on Thursday.

The Eastern Air Command, headquartered in Shillong, looks after the aerial defence of sensitive areas along the LAC in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh as well as various other parts of the region.

“Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff visited frontline air bases in Eastern Air Command on Wednesday,” an IAF spokesperson said without mentioning the bases.

The Army and the Indian Air Force have increased their alert levels in all key bases along the nearly 3,400 km-long LAC following China’s fresh attempts to change the status quo in the Southern Bank of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh.

The IAF spokesperson said the Chief of Air Staff was apprised about the “state of readiness” and operational preparedness of the combat units under the command.

“Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also met and interacted with air warriors serving in these units during the course of his visit. He lauded the focused efforts by the station personnel towards maintaining proficiency in all roles envisaged and urged them to continue performing their duty with due diligence,” the official said.

The IAF Chief has been regularly visiting key air bases along the LAC since the border row broke out between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh in early May.

The IAF has been carrying out night time combat air patrols over the eastern Ladakh region in an apparent message to China that it was ready to deal with any eventualities in the mountainous region.

The IAF has also deployed Apache attack choppers as well as Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to transport troops to various forward locations in eastern Ladakh.