“We are ensuring the readjustments of troops, combat reserves, logistical bases and ammunition dumps due to the harsh weather and terrain conditions does not impede our response time and capability to handle any contingency,” a senior Army officer told TOI on Wednesday.
Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh last week, the first such encounter between the neighbours since the deadly Galwan valley incident in June 2020. At least six Indian soldiers are believed to have sustained injuries and are being treated at the Army hospital in Guwahati.
The incident took place on December 9 after 300-400 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) intruded across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which was “contested” by Indian soldiers deployed there “in a firm and resolute manner,” forcing th Chinese to retreat.
Here are the latest developments:
Gen Naravane on China’s ‘salami slicing’ tactic along LAC
Former Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has said that China’s attempts to change the status quo on the LAC by resorting to “salami slicing” tactics have led to a “more assertive” response from the Indian Army. “China has been trying to alter the status quo along the LAC for many years, decades in fact, and they have been doing this in very small incremental steps which by themselves do not look very dangerous. They look quite innocuous. What we call salami slicing, coming up one inch at a time. But in the bargain over a period of time they have gained a lot. This is the tactics they have adopted and were continuing to do,” Gen Naravane said.
IAF set for exercise in Northeast from today
The Indian Air Force will carry out a two-day exercise in the Northeast involving almost all its frontline fighter jets and other assets deployed in the region. Sources said the exercise is aimed at checking the IAF’s overall combat capability and military preparedness in the region. The sources said IAF’s frontline fighter jets including Sukhoi-30MKIs and Rafale jets will be part of the exercise besides several other platforms deployed in the region. All frontline air bases and some key Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in the Northeast are set to be involved in the exercise, said a source.
‘PLA wanted to set up post on LAC’
Like in Galwan, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was planning to set up an observation post (OP) on the LAC, IANS reported, quoting a senior Army officer posted in the region. “It is already extremely cold there. Within the next couple of weeks, all areas close to the LAC will be under several feet of snow. On the Indian side, final preparations are being made to stock our forward positions with adequate supplies. There is a lot of troop movement as well. The PLA is certainly interested to learn more about our preparations for the winter, hence the decision to set up the OP,” the army officer, who is not identified in the IANS report, said.
‘Revamp supply process for troops on mountains’
Calling for an “urgent revamp” of the entire provisioning and procurement process for high-altitude Army deployments, a parliamentary panel had said there should not be any “gap” in supply of specialised clothing, equipment, ration and accommodation for soldiers engaged in safeguarding the country’s borders under difficult weather conditions. Pointing out the inordinate delays in procurement of winter clothing for soldiers in high-altitude areas as well as implementation of the project for improving their housing conditions, the public accounts committee on Wednesday said the defence ministry should devise ways and means to reduce the timelines in the contracting processes.
Opposition to keep up pressure on government in Parliament
The opposition will continue to press for a discussion in Parliament on the Indo-China border tension, with a view emerging among the parties that “details are scant” on what is an issue of grave national importance and the government needs to take the country into confidence. The like-minded parties are likely to issue a joint statement on Thursday, detailing their concerns about China, but also criticising the government for “denying” discussions on important subjects that they want to raise in the short winter session.
US pledges support to India
The US on Tuesday promised support to India over border clashes with China, accusing Beijing of being “provocative” towards US allies and its partners in the Indo-Pacific region, and pledged to remain committed to ensuring their security. The US assurance came in response to a question at a Pentagon briefing on clashes between Chinese and Indian troops, with a reporter specifically seeking to know if the Pentagon is concerned this could lead to a bigger military confrontation and if the US is willing to provide more military support to India to help them handle China’s military threats.
UN chief calls for de-escalation in tensions
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for de-escalation in the tensions between India and China. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson to UN Secretary-General said. “We have seen these reports. We call for de-escalation and to ensure that the tensions along in that area do not grow,” Stephane Dujarric said in the press briefing.
(With agency inputs)