Army Chief Gen MM Naravane

We will continue to deal with Chinese PLA in firm, resolute manner: Army chief

India News

The Indian Army will continue to deal with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a “firm and resolute manner” in eastern Ladakh and it has been maintaining the highest level of operational preparedness in the region, army Chief General MM Naravane said on Wednesday.

The army chief’s comments came on a day the 14th Senior Highest Military Commander Level meeting to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh, now on for more than 21 months, is being held on Wednesday.

“While there has been partial engagement, the threat by no means has been reduced. We are hopeful of resolving issues at Patrolling Point 15 (Hot Springs). We are more than adequately prepared to deal with it should there be any military ramifications,” Naravane was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“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,” he said.

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.”

The 14th Senior Highest Military Commander Level meeting to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh, now on for more than 21 months, is being held on Wednesday.

Sources in the security establishment told The Indian Express on Monday the “Indian side is looking forward to constructive dialogue to resolve the balance friction areas.”

Naravane also said that a report of inquiry will soon come out on the incident of the December 4 Army firing in Nagaland, after which “appropriate action” will be taken.

“The Army’s inquiry report into December 4 Nagaland incident is expected to come out in a day or two. Based on the report, appropriate action will be taken.”

The last meeting between the Indian and Chinese armies ended without a breakthrough, even though India had been hopeful of reaching an agreement on disengagement from Patrolling Point (PP) 15 in Hot Springs. Each side has a platoon-sized strength of soldiers in the area. Apart from PP15, there are two more outstanding issues in eastern Ladakh.

In Depsang Plains, Chinese troops are blocking Indian soldiers from accessing their traditional patrolling limits at PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13. The area is close to India’s strategically significant Daulat Beg Oldi near Karakoram Pass in the north.

In Demchok, some so-called civilians from China have pitched tents on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, and are refusing to vacate.

The meeting in October had ended with both sides blaming each other for the situation.

After the meeting, India had said that during the discussions the Indian side had “emphasised [that] such resolution of the remaining areas would facilitate progress in the bilateral relations”, and had made “constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas”.

Meanwhile, the United States Tuesday said it was closely monitoring the situation and highlighted that China’s behaviour was an attempt to intimidate its neighbours. The US said it would continue to stand with its partners.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation, and we continue to support dialogue and peaceful resolution of these border disputes,” President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a daily press briefing.

She was responding to a question on China’s “aggressive behaviour” on its border with India.

(With PTI inputs)

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