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Army ready to thwart any China shenanigans, as talks take place to resolve remaining “sticking points”: General Naravane | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Army maintains high operational readiness to “ thwart ” any “ unusual activity ” by China along the northern borders, General MM Naravane said on Friday, while dismissing concerns that India wasted their influence by vacating the heights of the Kailash Range without extracting any concessions on the Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh.
The Army chief, in an exclusive interview with TOI, claimed that the Rezang La-Rechin La heights in the Kailash Mountain Range were vacated as part of the troop withdrawal plan on both sides of Pangong Tso in February after “analyzing all the military implications and the situation on the ground ”.
“There is no question that India has come under some pressure or compromised,” General Naravane said. Diplomatic and military negotiations are underway for the resolution of the remaining opposing sites such as Hot Springs, Gogra and the strategically located Depsang Plains.
“Negotiations are taking place to resolve other sticking points in a firm but not staggered manner. Negotiations take time. We will solve them little by little, ”he said. India has made its position very clear to China that “both sides should restore the status quo as it prevailed in April 2020 or earlier,” he added.
But with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pressing its heels to even complete the stalled disconnect at patrol points (PP) 15, 17 and 17A in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area, General Naravane acknowledged the withdrawal. of troops and the consequent de-escalation along the border would take some time.
The PLA also continues to prevent Indian patrols from going to their traditional PP-10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13 in Depsang, which are well below India’s perception of the Royal Line of Control in the region.
“Depsang Bulge is an inherited problem where different perception and obstruction of patrol has been there for some time. The problem must be resolved amicably as soon as possible, ”General Naravane said.
The Army maintains a force level of around 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers in advanced areas to attend to all contingencies. “Our forces are ready to thwart any unusual activity on the part of our neighbor. Things are stable as of now, but we cannot be complacent. We have to keep a strict watch. We are doing it, ”he said.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What is the current land situation in eastern Ladakh?
A: A partial disconnect has taken place in the areas of the north and south shores of Pangong Tso and the Kailash Mountain Range. In these areas, troops from both sides, according to the agreement, were withdrawn to their respective permanent locations in February. There has been no breach of the pact by either side so far.
The withdrawal of the troops from the rest of the points of confrontation is being deliberate by the military commanders of both sides, reinforced by the diplomatic machinery.
Despite the disengagement, China continues to deploy its mechanized elements (tanks and armored vehicles) and troops in areas of immediate depth. Overall, the strength levels remain the same … around 50,000-60,000 each. There has been some disengagement, but troop withdrawal and scaling down has not occurred.
We are aware that the PLA is also conducting summer exercises in its traditional training areas off eastern Ladakh, with additional formations arriving there. We are attentive to any activity that may be construed as out of the ordinary. Our forces are ready to thwart any unusual activity on the part of our neighbor.
Q: Can the situation escalate again?
A: Things are stable and under control as of now. But unintentional incidents can occur due to the excessive enthusiasm of local commanders, against whom you must protect yourself. We, of course, cannot be complacent. We have to keep a strict watch. We’re making it. Negotiations are underway
for the resolution of other friction points in a firm but not staggered manner.
Q: But the 11th round of corps commander-level talks on April 9 did not make any progress? Did the PLA refuse to complete the stalled shutdown at Gogra, Hot Springs, and Demchok, as well as to stop blocking Indian patrols at Depsang?
A: We should not expect a result from each round. The disconnection at Pangong Tso occurred after 10 rounds. The next round will take place.
Q: The Doklam The confrontation in 2017 lasted 73 days …
A: The Sumdorong Chu confrontation (in the 1980s) lasted for a few years. It is difficult to give a time frame. The problems remain to be solved at the friction points. Negotiations take time. We will solve them little by little.
QUESTION: Is there a great concern that India should not have vacated the heights of the Chushul-Kailash Range without obtaining concessions from China in the Depsang Plains, where access of Indian patrols to hundreds of square kilometers of territory has been cut off? ?
ANSWER: The Kailash Range vacation as part of the Pangong Tso withdrawal plan was carried out after analyzing all the military implications and the situation on the ground. It is not that the Indian side was under pressure or compromised.
Depsang Bulge is an inherited problem where different perception and obstruction of patrol has been there for some time. The problem should be resolved amicably as soon as possible.
QUESTION: You recently said that the threat from China “has only diminished” but “has not completely disappeared.” The PLA continues with strength levels as before. Will de-escalation occur or will LACQUER become another LoC (with Pakistan) with permanent deployments?
ANSWER: It is true that Chinese troops that had mobilized from deep areas continue to be deployed in intermediate depth areas off LAC in eastern Ladakh. Therefore, the threat continues to exist.
Talks during the 10th round of meetings between senior military commanders led to a disconnect (in Pangong Tso), which has been monitored and verified by both parties.
However, discussions on the remaining areas should be accelerated to reflect the status quo before April 2020. Success in these discussions will create a positive and trusting environment for both countries to resolve the remaining issues peacefully. Our position is very clear: both parties must restore the “status quo ante” in effect in April 2020 or earlier and prevent such incidents from happening again.
Q: What about other stretches of LAC like Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim? Is China also building villages and settling civilians in the border areas?
ANSWER: In other sections, the situation remains peaceful with normal PLA deployments. As for the villages, China is building them but they have not invaded Indian territory. It’s part of a grand design, which is hard to deduce … possibly to populate your previously unoccupied areas.



Times of India

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