Rajnath meets chiefs, says keep strict vigil along LAC
ASSESSMENT Defence minister was briefed about the preparations of the military and its readiness to respond to any provocative actions by Chinese forces
NEW DELHI: As tensions simmer along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, where aggressive military posturing by Indian and Chinese forces has garnered global attention, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday made a detailed assessment of the ground situation at the disputed border, where 20 Indian and scores of Chinese soldiers were killed in a skirmish in Galwan valley, two senior officers familiar with the developments said on Sunday.
Singh held an hour-long meeting with chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs at his residence. He was briefed about the preparations of the military and its readiness to respond to any provocative actions by the Chinese forces, one of the officers said on the condition of anonymity.
The meeting came before Singh heads to Russia to participate in the Victory Day parade in Moscow on June 24. He will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei
Shoigu during the visit (June 21-25), and the spike in border tensions with China is set to figure in the discussions, said the second officer cited above, asking not to be identified.
Moscow’s relations with New Delhi and Beijing are currently very good, and Russian diplomats, in recent remarks to the Indian media, have spoken about the need to ease tensions between India and China for regional stability.
The minister told the military brass that India will not escalate the border dispute but it will respond to threatening actions with firmness and reiterated that local commanders at the LAC have full authority to do what is necessary to safeguard Indian interests, as outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an allparty meeting last week, the second officer said.
A significant change in the rules of engagement (ROE) by the Indian Army following the June 15 Galwan valley skirmish has given complete freedom of action to commanders deployed along the LAC to handle situations at the tactical level.