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Situation unpredictable on Ladakh border as no cut in China’s troops, says Army Chief Pande

Chinese soldiers in Galwan region.(File Photo)

New Delhi: The situation in eastern Ladakh is stable but unpredictable and in spite of the onset of winter, there is no significant reduction in the Chinese army’s force levels on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Army Chief General Manoj Pande said on Saturday.

The Army Chief was speaking at the ‘Chanakya Dialogues’ in Delhi on ‘Arming the Army-Atmanirbhar Bharat’.  Replying to a question of Major Gaurav Arya (retd) during a ‘fireside chat’ on the situation in Eastern Ladakh, General Manoj Pande said “the situation is stable but unpredictable”.

“You are aware about the talks on the political, diplomatic and military level which is going on between the two sides. Because of these talks, we have been able to find resolution in five of the seven friction points which were on the table. And it is for the next two friction points, on that we are trying to find resolution,” Gen Pande said.

As far as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) force levels are concerned, “there has been no significant reduction,” he pointed out.

The Army Chief referred to the meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) held last month in which the two sides agreed to continue discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC and agreed to hold the 17th round of talks between senior military commanders at an early date.

“We are looking at a date for the 17th round of talks,” he said.

In terms of infrastructure development, General Pande said “that is going on unabated”. “We have infrastructure in terms of road and helipad. This helps forces to improve their ability and move them from one sector to the other”.

The Army Chief said the force’s transition to the winter posture is underway but “we have also made sure that we have adequate forces to deal with any contingency”.

He also said that the Army is undertaking many transformational initiatives essentially to make it more modern and to be able to meet contemporary and future challenges of the battlefield.

General Pande said these transformational initiatives span across different domains and have been largely taken to increase the efficiency of the Army, enhance effectiveness and find dominance.

The Army Chief said the focus is being laid on restructuring, optimization, modernization and transformational roadmap and that “our operational preparedness levels along the border are in no way diluted”.

Answering a query related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Army Chief said the message is clear that the country cannot rely on foreign sources only and that “it is our strategic necessity to develop our own capacity, become self-reliant, self-dependent and Aatmanirbhar.”