LAC situation tense, Indian troops prepared: Army Chief

The situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh is “tense” and Indian troops are prepared for all possible contingencies, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane said on Friday amid heightened tensions in the region after China’s fresh attempts to occupy Indian territory.

Wrapping up his two-day visit to Ladakh, Gen Naravane said the Indian Army has undertaken precautionary deployment in some areas and that the force is well prepared to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country.

“The nation can count on us,” he said.

The Army Chief carried out a comprehensive review of India’s security preparedness in the region and visited a number of sensitive forward posts to have a first-hand assessment of the situation.

“The situation along the LAC is tense. We have undertaken precautionary deployment in some areas. The troops are prepared for all contingencies that may arise. All these actions have been carried out only along the LAC,” he said.

In his interactions with soldiers and senior commanders at multiple locations, the Army Chief asked them to remain vigilant and maintain a “high order of operational readiness”.

“It was very satisfying to see our soldiers and local commanders in high morale and good health. It gives me confidence that they are well prepared to safeguard the territorial integrity of our nation. The Indian Army is known for its commitment and resolve,” he said.

“We will continue to utilise all existing mechanisms to reduce tension and to ensure that the status quo is not unilaterally changed,” he said.

Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a bitter standoff in multiple places in eastern Ladakh.

Tensions flared up in the region after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake five days back when the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military talks to resolve the festering border row.

India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has strongly objected to India’s move. However, India has maintained that the heights are on its side of the LAC.

India has also rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following the Chinese attempts.

“Over the past three months, both sides are engaged in resolving the situation. Military and diplomatic channels are functioning. Indian side is firmly committed to resolve the current situation along the LAC through engagement,” the Army quoted Gen Naravane as saying at the end of the visit.

In a statement, the Army said Gen Naravane interacted with soldiers and local commanders deployed in difficult high-altitude forward areas.

It said he appreciated their high morale and standards of professionalism exhibited by the units in safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity.

The Army Chief was briefed about the overall security scenario by Lt Gen YK Joshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command and Lt General Harinder Singh, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps.

Gen Naravane was briefed on the state of operational preparedness and on the logistics arrangements for sustenance of forces in winters, the Army said adding, he expressed satisfaction on the efforts being made to ensure operational effectiveness and capability enhancement of the forces.