India-China: Confident of ensuring that status quo at LAC doesn’t change, says Army chief

Army chief Naravane is on a two-day visit to Ladakh where he is reviewing the operational preparedness. This comes amid escalating tensions and fresh incursion bids by PLA along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Manoj Mukund Naravane

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane is in Leh, Ladakh on a two-day visit. He is reviewing the army’s operational preparedness. Naravane will also be briefed by senior field commanders on the ground situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

On September 2, India banned 118 more Chinese apps, including popular video game PUBG, amid escalating tensions along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Reports also suggest that Indian soldiers have taken up dominating positions at ‘Finger 4’ along the Pangong Lake. The military is also reportedly keeping a close watch on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s build-up at Depsang-DBO.

These developments come days after the Indian Army confirmed that there was a fresh incursion bid by Chinese troops at the LAC.

There is a “big probability” that the defence ministers of China and India will meet in Moscow amid renewed border tensions, the editor-in-chief of state-backed Chinese newspaper Global Times said today. Hu Xijin said on his official account on Twitter that arrangements for such a meeting between China’s Wei Fenghe and India’s Rajnath Singh “has made progress”, without citing sources.

“We have been continuous engaging with China at both the military and diplomatic levels. We are confident that we will be able to ensure that the status quo does not change and we will be able to safeguard our interests,” Army chief MM Naravane told news agency ANI.

“The situation around the LAC is slightly tense. So, we have undertaken precautionary deployments. Talks are going on at various levels. I am confident that we will be able to resolve the current situation through dialogue,” Naravane added.

During his meeting with his Russian counterpart today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appreciated the steadfast support provided by Russia, consistent with India’s defence and security needs. He also particularly noted the timely manner in which Russia responded to requests for procurement of particular weapon systems.

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghi is understood to have sought a meeting with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of a key Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet in Moscow, people familiar with the development told news agency PTI.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on September 3 said that the border row has to be solved through diplomacy and that it was vital for both countries to reach an “accommodation” not only for themselves, but also for the world. “Our position there (in Ladakh) has been very clear: we have agreements and understandings with China. The agreements and understandings must be scrupulously observed by both parties,” Jaishankar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“I am totally convinced that a solution to the situation has to be found in the domain of diplomacy. And I say that with responsibility,” Jaishankar said, underscoring that he was “not underplaying the seriousness of the current situation or the challenges” of the boundary question.

Here are key developments from yesterday:

Indian actions (app ban) violate the legal interests of Chinese investors and services providers and China asks India to correct its mistakes, Reuters has quoted China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng as telling a briefing.

The Indian military is monitoring the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s build-up at Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldi, reports suggested.

China “deliberately” provoked India with a new incursion into contested territory after the fresh confrontation on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh, according to an American intelligence assessment. The US intelligence assessment suggested that Beijing remains enraged that its local commander withdrew forces when a physical conflict appeared about to be happened.

“India has already banned 100 plus Chinese apps. We call on all freedom-loving nations and companies to join ‘The Clean Network’,” Keith Krach, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

It was reported that Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had visited eastern air bases on September 2 and had reviewed operational preparedness there.

Tension between India and China at the LAC in eastern Ladakh region has been escalating since early May amid skirmishes and leading to a military build-up. The three main friction points were Hot Springs, the Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso.

However, they reached another level when a violent clash broke out in the Galwan Valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. The Chinese side is also believed to have suffered casualties but it has not given details.

On August 31, the Indian Army said that Chinese troops had violated consensus and carried out provocative military movements on the night of August 29-30, aimed at changing the status quo at the LAC.

The army further said that Indian soldiers pre-empted PLA’s activity on the southern bank of Pangong Tso and undertook measures to strengthen positions and thwart Chinese intentions.

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