Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande on Thursday carried out a comprehensive review of India’s military preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh as he began his first visit to the strategically key region nearly two weeks after taking the reins of the Indian Army. On the first day of his three-day visit, senior commanders briefed Gen Pande at the headquarters of the Fire and Fury Corps in Leh about the overall security situation in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff at a number of friction points for over two years.
It is Gen Pande’s first visit outside Delhi after taking charge as the Army Chief on April 30. “The Army Chief was briefed on the security situation along the borders with special focus on Eastern Ladakh. The high level of operational readiness being maintained by the forces while maintaining a high tempo of capability development was highlighted,” the Army said in a statement.
Later, Gen Pande, accompanied by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Command Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi and Lt Gen A Sengupta, General Officer Commanding of the Fire and Fury Corps, called on Lt Governor RK Mathur. “This was followed by a detailed discussion on issues related to civil-military cooperation and the role of Indian Army in developmental activities in the Union Territory of Ladakh,” the Army said.
It said Gen Pande will visit forward areas in eastern Ladakh and interact with troops deployed along the LAC in the most difficult and inhospitable terrain. The Fire and Fury Corps is responsible for guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in the Ladakh region.
Gen Pande’s visit to Ladakh came three days after he said China’s intention has been to keep “alive” the overall boundary question with India though it remains the “basic” issue between the two countries. While referring to the eastern Ladakh border row, the Army Chief had said the Indian Army’s aim is to re-establish the “trust and tranquillity” between the two sides but asserted that “it cannot be a one-way affair.” He also asserted that the Indian Army’s aim was to restore the status quo ante prior to April 2020 in eastern Ladakh.
The eastern Ladakh faceoff began on May 4-5 in 2022. India has been insisting on the restoration of the status quo ante prior to the standoff. India and China have held 15 rounds of military talks so far to resolve the eastern Ladakh row. As a result of the talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC were key for the overall development of the bilateral ties.Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.
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