PM meets NSA, CDS, 3 Service chiefs
NEW DELHI, May 26:
India will not stop infrastructure development projects in strategic areas along the nearly 3,500-km Sino-India border notwithstanding China’s well-coordinated efforts to stall them by attempting to vitiate the situation in areas like eastern Ladakh, Government sources said today.
As the tense stand-off between the Chinese and Indian troops in Eastern Ladakh continues, top commanders of the Indian Army will carry out an in-depth review of the situation in several areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at a three-day conference beginning tomorrow.
The main focus of the deliberations will be on the situation in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie, the sources said.
In view of the nearly 20-day standoff between the two sides, the Indian Army has significantly ramped up its presence in sensitive border areas in North Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh besides Ladakh to send across a message that India will not be wilting under any aggressive military posturing by China, the sources said.
Separately, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs held a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Army chief Gen MM Naravane is learnt to have apprised Singh about the current situation in the disputed areas.
Government sources said Singh has conveyed to the military brass that there was no need for reviewing the implementation of any of the key projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand or in Arunachal Pradesh in view of the aggressive behaviour by Chinese troops in several sensitive areas.
The Chinese side has been particularly peeved at India laying a key road in the Finger area of Pangong Tso Lake area besides another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
In the last five years, India has been focusing on improving road and other key infrastructure along the LAC as part of efforts to bolster military preparedness to deal with any challenge from the Chinese side.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to “disengage” following a meeting at the level of local commanders.
Over 100 Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in the violence.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9
Since then, Chinese military has increased its strength in Pangong Tso lake, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldi, and is resorting to “aggressive patrolling” in these areas. The India Army is also carrying out similar exercise in the region, sources said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs with a focus on bolstering India’s military preparedness to deal with external security challenges, Government sources said.
The military brass is learnt to have apprised Modi about the evolving situation in eastern Ladakh, though officials maintained that the agenda of the pre-scheduled meeting was to discuss the ambitious military reforms and ways to boost India’s combat prowess.
People in the military establishment said the Prime Minister was briefed about the situation in Ladakh. There was no official comment or details available about the meeting.
Official sources said NSA Doval has been closely monitoring the evolving situation along the LAC in Ladakh as well as in north Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
“China’s strategy to put military pressure on India will not work. We want restoration of the status quo along the LAC,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
In the meeting, the top military brass is learnt to have apprised Modi about the implementation of key infrastructure projects along the LAC, the de-facto border with China. (PTI)