Indian Army chief General M M Naravane has reviewed the ‘forward posture’ of his troops on the LAC with China during a visit to Ladakh this week.
Navarane reviewed the operational situation along the unresolved border with China, which has witnessed rival troop build-ups after violent clashes.
His visit came a day after the Modi government asserted it remained “deeply committed to ensuring India’s security and sovereignty”.
Gen Naravane reviewed “ the ground situation with Northern Command chief Lt General Y K Joshi and the Leh-based 14 Corps commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh, among other top officers, said senior officers not willing to be quoted.
They said the forward-deployed Indian troops, with major !reinforcements from other areas for “a second line of defence”, will continue to maintain their “firm stance against yielding any ground” to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the ongoing confrontations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The Northern Command is on a high alert due to repeated provocations by the PLA. But talks with China, through military and diplomatic channels, are also under way to defuse tensions,” said a senior officer.
“With regular brigadier-level meetings at border meeting points (BPMs) and hotline talks between local commanders, there is the possibility the situation will de-escalate in the coming days,” he said.
Both India and China have pumped in additional troops, built fortifications and pitched tents at a few stretches along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, which include the northern bank of Pangong Tso(Tso means lake), Demchok and Galwan Valley areas, after the violent clashes between the rival soldiers on May 5-6.
Senior officers said China had aggressively blocked Indian patrols and construction.
The major grouse of the PLA seems to be the completion of the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road, which provides access to the Depsang area and Galwan Valley while ending near the Karakoram Pass, by India last year. But several forward firmation officers tokd Easterlink the Indian Army, though it does not want to go public and add to tensions, remains undeterrrd by the PLA’s “muscle-flexing” and is quite prepared to handle repeats of the major 73-day confrontation at Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017.
The Border Roads Organisation will resume its planned construction activity for roads and tunnels in different stretches along the 3,488-km long LAC from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh soon, said a BRO engineer in the area.
He said the PLA has stepped-up needling of Indian troops, with the flashpoint being eastern Ladakh, along the LAC from the very beginning of this year.
The Indian Army, in turn, is ready for the coming “hot summer” in terms of “transgressions and face-offs” in the 23 “disputed and sensitive areas” along the LAC.
Indian army officers say they are determined to complete all planned fortifications in all three sectors of LAC to make their positions more defensible.
“They will withstand PLA pressure and complete it. They say PLA already completed such fortifications and now wants to stop Indian Army,” said a senior officer.
The Indian Army has a clear picture of Chinese deployments through Sigint,Techint and Humint assets and from fraternal intelligence services with proven intelligence penetration in China.
With hugely increased strategic airlift using US- made heavy duty transport aircrafts using Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) to ferry men and material at short notice, the Indian seems to be well prepared to combat any PLA shock-and-awe move in the High Himalayas.
The Indian Army has also closely studied the enveloping tactics employed with great success by the Vietnamese during the 1979 Chinese invasion of their country.
“We are more than prepared to give the Chinese a real bloody nose like in 1967 Silkim battles,” said Probal Dasgupta , author of ‘Watershed’ on the 1967 Silkim battles.
Dasgupta, a former infantry major with intimate knowledge of the Himalayan battlefront, says once logistics is taken care off, ” the Chinese army, man to man , is no.match for the tough and fearless Indian troops.”
” Prosperity has taken its toll of the PLA. They have hi tech stuff but their troops fly around in helicopters for deployment while ours trek dozens of kilometres in tough terrain to even reach forward outposts,” Dasgupta said about battle conditioning.
” Even in the worst days of 1962, our soldiers and junior commanders fought like mad agaibst huge odds,” he reminded.
He said if the Indian soldier has his ‘daal-roti and gola-barud,” he will fight un to death.
” That may have been true of the Japanese but not of the Chinese.”