At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Indians to light a “diya (lamp)” for soldiers deployed on Ladakh borders, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat has asked the three services to curb all peace-time activities in deference to deployed troops and be ready in case of a worst-case scenario.
It is understood that Navy’s marine commandos have been asked to be deployed in East Ladakh where the Indian Army is locked in a stand-off with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Gogra-Hot Springs and both banks of Pangong Tso. The MARCOS will be deployed with the Indian Special Forces to gain experience in polar desert conditions with high wind chill factor and heavy snow.
The deployed troops are waiting for last shipment of polar winter clothing and face masks, which are expected to arrive from US Army own reserve stocks by the first week of November. Just like the PLA, the Indian Army is prepared for a long haul and is in no mood to cede an inch of territory to the aggressive Chinese Army. The PLA has already deployed strategic jammers in Arunachal Pradesh and is going in for a massive infrastructure and storage capacity upgrade in both Xinjiang and Tibet.
According to senior military commanders, General Rawat has made it clear to all the three services that these are not normal times with troops, artillery and tanks deployed along the 1597 km Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in Ladakh and hence all peace-time activities must be curbed. “As situation in east Ladakh can get worse any time in case of an accident, the armed forces must be ready for any scenario. It cannot be that while the entire northern army command and western air command is battle deployed in frozen condition, the rest of us are celebrating the festival season and playing golf. Let nobody forget there is a war on in Ladakh,” said a South Block official.
In lieu of this, the Indian Navy has been asked to focus on Andaman and Nicobar Island to monitor Chinese warship activity in Indian Ocean rather than get concerned about PLA Navy deployments off the coast of Africa. Indian Island territories of Lakshadweep and ANC are the key to national maritime security as they dominate the most important shipping lanes – from Persian Gulf to Malacca Straits—in the world.