AFTER TAKING over as the Army Chief earlier this month, General Manoj Pande went on his first visit to Ladakh on Thursday. The visit comes even as the more than two-year long standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh remains unresolved. Pande will visit the forward areas in eastern Ladakh too.
The Army said in a statement that Pande reached Leh on Thursday and “was briefed on the security situation along the borders with special focus on Eastern Ladakh.” It said that the “high level of operational readiness being maintained by the forces while maintaining a high tempo of capability development was highlighted.”
Along with Pande, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, who took over as the Northern Army Commander in February, and Lt Gen A Sengupta, who took charge of the XIV Corps facing China, in January were also present.
The statement mentioned that the three military leaders met Lt Governor of Ladakh RK Mathur “followed by a detailed discussion on issues related to Civil-Military cooperation and the role of Indian Army in developmental activities” in the Union Territory.
The Army said during his three-day visit Pande “will visit forward areas in Eastern Ladakh and interact with troops deployed along the Line of Actual Control in the most difficult and inhospitable terrain in the world.”
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India and China have held 15 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks but the standoff is yet to be resolved. There are three outstanding friction points—Patrolling Point 15 in Hot Springs, where a platoon-sized unit of Chinese troops is stationed on the Indian side of the LAC; the Chinese troops are blocking Indian soldiers from accessing their traditional patrolling limits at PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13 in Depsang plains; and in Demchok where some Chinese have pitched tents on the Indian side of the LAC.