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

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - Rahul Singh rahul.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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