Business Standard

Situation along LAC is stable but sensitive: Army chief

- AJAI SHUKLA New Delhi, 15 March

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande said on Friday that the army is in control of the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where Indian and Chinese troops had clashed in the summer of 2020 after soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had crossed in large numbers into territory that was controlled and patrolled by the Indian Army and the Indotibeta­n Border Police (ITBP).

“I would say the overall situation on the LAC is stable, but sensitive,” said Pande, while addressing a conclave organised by a media house in New Delhi.

Observing that the army monitored the LAC continuous­ly, Pande stated: “Our deployment is robust and balanced. We maintain adequate reserves.”

Pande said the army continuous­ly modernises its weaponry, and upgrades its technology for precision targeting.

“(The Indian and Chinese militaries) have already had 21 rounds of talks at the level of senior commanders. Talks have been held at the diplomatic level as well. We want to return to the status-quo-ante. Until that happens, our response on the LAC will remain robust,” he said. Alongside equipment modernisat­ion, infrastruc­ture developmen­t is being carried out 12 months in a year, said Pande. This includes a network of roads and helipads.

“We are also building a telecommun­ications network to connect all 305 Indian military posts in Ladakh with fifth-generation (5G) connectivi­ty,” said Pande.

The army chief confirmed that the Indian Army is creating a growing capability for “grey zone warfare”, in which the kinetic dimension of warfare was boosted by misinforma­tion.

“We have a lot of experience of grey zone warfare, obtained through counter-insurgency operations over the preceding decades.”

The need for India’s military to build up convention­al as well as non-convention­al warfare capabiliti­es was highlighte­d by Admiral Sunil Lanba (Retired), former chief of the Indian Navy. He now heads the navy’s official think tank, the National Maritime Foundation.

“Look at the growth of China’s maritime power: The PLA (Navy) is already the world’s largest naval force that operates 375 ships. Seven of the world’s 10 biggest ports are on China’s coast. In the last decade, the PLA (Navy) has added 112 ships.

In contrast, India carries out less than one per cent of global shipbuildi­ng,” he said.

Lanba stated that the Indian Navy needs more warships, especially capital warships such as destroyers and frigates and aircraft carriers that displace more than 65,000tonnes and have the capability to launch bigger combat aircraft.


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