Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said today that China had deployed troops in “considerable numbers” across all eastern Ladakh and northern front, right up to India’s eastern command. Calling it a “matter of concern”, the army chief said that there had been an increase in the PLA’s deployment.
“China has deployed in considerable numbers all across eastern Ladakh and northern front right up to our eastern command. Definitely, there has been an increase in their deployment in the forward areas which remains a matter of concern for us,” said in Ladakh in an interview with Ajit Kumar Dubey.
Naravane was in Leh town where the largest Khadi national flag in the world was installed on 2 October, on the occasion of the 152nd birth anniversary of MK Gandhi.
Naravane had yesterday visited several forward areas in eastern Ladakh to carry out a comprehensive review of India’s operational preparedness in the backdrop of its prolonged military standoff with China in the mountainous region. Senior army personnel gave him a detailed briefing about the overall situation in the region at the headquarters of the 14 Corps, popularly known as the ‘Fire and Fury Corps’, that takes care of guarding the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) with China in the Ladakh region, officials said.
On the first day of his two-day tour of the region, Gen Naravane visited the strategically sensitive Rezang La and a war memorial in the area to pay homage to the soldiers who had laid down their lives in defending the country, officials said.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Naravane called on Lt Governor of Ladakh Radha Krishna Mathur and discussed the prevailing security scenario in the union territory.
Several reports had recently quoted sources as saying that China had put in place new modular container-based accommodations for its troops in several high-altitude forward areas on its side of the LoAC in eastern Ladakh in response to Indian deployment in the region. The shelters were installed in locations near Tashigong, Manza, Hot Springs and Churup among others, in reflection of simmering tensions between the two sides in the region, they said.
Sources said China’s army had been feeling the heat of the Indian response to its “misadventure” in the region last year and that the Chinese military had been forced to go for long deployments and boost infrastructure in the region. They said the Indian response to the Chinese actions last year, particularly after the Galwan Valley clashes, surprised the neighbouring country and that it deployed troops in areas where it never used to earlier.
India slammed China on 30 September for once again holding it responsible for the eastern Ladakh standoff, asserting that the “provocative” behaviour and “unilateral” attempts by the Chinese military to alter the status quo resulted in a serious disturbance of peace and tranquillity in the region. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said China continued to deploy a large number of troops and armaments in the border areas and it was in response to Chinese actions that the Indian armed forces had to make appropriate counter deployments.