Amid Tension Along LAC President Kovind Reaches Ladakh

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Leh (Ladakh): President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday exhorted Ladakh Scouts to guard the nation’s sovereignty against all odds in the true spirit signified by the ‘Colours’ presented to the regiment.

He was addressing a function at Leh after presenting President’s Colours to the Ladakh Scouts Regiment, which has been decorated with 605 gallantry and distinguished service awards.

The President arrived in Leh on a day’s visit in the morning and it was Kovind’s first visit outside Delhi after assuming the office earlier this month.

“A ceremonial parade was conducted as per the highest military traditions of the Indian Army which was attended by a spectrum of civil and military dignitaries including the Governor and Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir,” a defence spokesman said.

The Chief of the Army Staff, GOC-in-C Northern Command,GOC 14 Corps besides a large number of serving and retired personnel witnessed the grand ceremony.

Earlier Army chief general Bipin Rawat began his three-day visit to Ladakh region on Sunday against the backdrop of rising tension along LAC following Chinese intrusion bids near Pangong Lake near here earlier this week.

Though a senior army official termed the visit a “routine affair”, Hindustan Times quoting defence sources said, Rawat will take stock of the operational preparedness of the Indian army at the Line of Actual Control, a demarcation line that separates two nuclear powers.

Tension has escalated after troops of the two countries scuffled and pelted stones at each other near the picturesque Pangong Lake on August 15.

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A defence spokesman said that the President complimented the Ladakh Scouts personnel for their outstanding performance in all spheres and their exceptional valour and sacrifice while upholding the sovereignty of the nation in Ladakh region especially in the Siachen Glacier.

He appreciated the exceptional gallantry and indomitable courage displayed by the brave soldiers during all major wars and operations since independence which have earned them 605 gallantry and distinguished service awards besides, Battle Honours of Batalik & Turtuk, Theatre Honour Kargil and the coveted Chief of the Army Staff Banner for Valour & Sacrifice, making them one of the most decorated regiments of the Indian Army.

 

Raised as Nubra Guards in 1948, amalgamated into the Army as regular troops in 1963 and restructured as an Infantry Regiment in the year 2000 post ‘Operation Vijay,’ the Ladakh Scouts have carved a niche for themselves in the annals of history of the Indian Army, the spokesman said.

Ladakh Scuffle: China Says ‘Extremely Dissatisfied’

China laid the blame at India’s door on Monday for an altercation along their border in the western Himalayas involving soldiers from both of the Asian giants. Both countries’ troops have been embroiled in an eight-week-long standoff on the Doklam plateau in another part of the remote Himalayan region near their disputed frontier. Last week, a source in New Delhi, who had been briefed on the military situation on the border, said soldiers foiled a bid by a group of Chinese troops to enter Indian territory in Ladakh, near Pangong lake.

Some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and troops on both sides suffered minor injuries in the melee, the source said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that last Tuesday, Chinese border forces were carrying out “normal” patrols on the Chinese side of the actual line of control in the Pangong lake are.

“During this time they were obstructed by Indian border forces and the Indian side took fierce actions, colliding with the Chinese personnel and having contact with their bodies, injuring the Chinese border personnel,” Hua told a daily news briefing.

What India did went against the two countries’ consensus to keep the peace on the border and it endangered the situation there, she added. “China is extremely dissatisfied with this” and had lodged solemn representations, Hua said.

India’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the incident in Ladakh took place but has not given any details.

Indian media have shown footage taken on a mobile phone purportedly of the scuffle, originally posted by a retired army officer, with stone throwing and shoving by soldiers of both countries.

The heighten tension on both ends of the border come ahead of a summit of the BRICS group of nations in the Chinese city of Xiamen in early September, with leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa due to attend.

China has repeatedly asked India to unilaterally withdraw from the Doklam area, or face the prospect of an escalation. Chinese state media have warned India of a fate worse than its crushing defeat in a brief border war in 1962.

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