Army Chief to Visit Srinagar, Leh to Review Situation

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New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane will visit Leh and Srinagar today (Tuesday) to take stock of the ground situation in the region.

General Naravane’s visit comes amid the heightened threat in eastern Ladakh region where thousands of Indian Army men have been deployed a few metres away from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), following the bloody clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) a week ago.

The Army Chief will review the force preparedness as well the deployment across the Line of Actual Control with China and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. He is likely to visit on Tuesday.

As military build-up on both sides of the LAC in Ladakh continues, a constant stream of IAF heavy lift aircraft have airlifted dozens of additional tanks and armoured personnel carriers to the Himalayan heights for beefing up Indian firepower, media reports said on Monday.

Amidst carrying out combat air patrols over Ladakh and maintaining operational readiness platforms at various airbases to scramble fighters, the IAF is using its American C-17s and Russian IL-76s freighters for carrying out multiple sorties out of Chandigarh and other places over the past weeks for the purpose.

Some elements of armoured formations based in the Western Sector, which include the newer T-90s, have been earmarked for the Ladakh frontier.

Army Top Brass Reviews Ladakh situation 

Earlier the apex leadership of the Indian Army on Monday held detailed deliberations on the eastern Ladakh standoff and the situation along the Line of Actual Control with China after the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, official sources said.

On the opening day of a two-day conference, the commanders carried out a comprehensive review of India’s security preparedness along the LAC in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, they said.

In his initial remarks, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane briefed the commanders about the overall situation following which detailed discussions on the matter took place, the sources said.

The commanders also deliberated on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said.

It is the second phase of the biannual commanders conference. The first phase had taken place last month.

Twenty Indian Army personnel were killed in the violent hand-to-hand clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on June 15, in the biggest ever confrontation between the two sides after a gap of 45 years.

Following the incident, the government has given the armed forces “full freedom” to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure along the 3,500-km de-facto border.

The Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last one week. The IAF has also moved a sizeable number of its frontline Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to several key air bases including Leh and Srinagar following the clashes.

The two armies were engaged in a standoff in Galwan and several other areas of eastern Ladakh since May 5 when their troops clashed on the banks of the Pangong Tso.

The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.

Prior to the clashes, both sides had been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it was necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

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Press Trust of India

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