Army top brass reviews LAC situation amid tensions with China

The army’s top brass on Monday made a detailed assessment of the ground situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese forces have significantly beefed up their deployments in the extended region on both sides of the contested border, two senior officers said on the condition of anonymity.

The developments along the LAC and the army’s operational readiness to handle any situation were discussed in detail at the army commanders’ conference, chaired by army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, the first officer said.

The situation along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan also came up during the discussions, amid concerns that the western neighbour could try to take advantage of the tensions along the northern borders with China, the second officer said.

While the conference was pre-scheduled, it is being held at a time when the Indian and Chinese armies have marshalled thousands of soldiers on their respective sides of the LAC and the military build up consists of fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, artillery guns and missile systems, he said.

The conference will conclude on Tuesday. It was the second phase of the conference — the first was held in Delhi on May 27-29.

The top commanders met a day after defence minister Rajnath Singh made a detailed assessment of the situation at the disputed border and was briefed by the military brass about the preparations of the armed forces and their readiness to respond to any provocative actions by the Chinese forces.

Singh left for Russia on Monday where he will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and the spike in border tensions with China will figure in the talks. Singh will be participating in the Victory Day parade in Moscow on June 24.

Tensions between India and China have surged after the Galwan Valley brawl on June 15 that resulted in 20 Indian deaths, including that of a commanding officer, and the Chinese army possibly suffered more than twice as many casualties, which also included a commanding officer, said another officer.

With uncertainty looming along the LAC, the government has given financial powers worth Rs 500 crore per project to the armed forces to fast-track the purchase of critical weapons and ammunition to deal with any kind of scenario. Similar financial powers were bestowed on the military after the 2016 Uri terror attack and the 2019 Balakot air strikes to plug gaps in capabilities.