Army chief vis­its Ladakh af­ter bor­der skir­mish at LAC

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - Rahul Singh let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Army chief Gen­eral MM Nar­a­vane on Fri­day vis­ited Leh, the head­quar­ters of 14 Corps in Ladakh, for a se­cu­rity re­view of the sen­si­tive sec­tor at a time when ten­sions be­tween In­dia and China pre­vail along the Line of Ac­tual Con­trol (LAC), two se­nior of­fi­cials said. The visit came a day af­ter In­dia re­jected China’s con­tention that ten­sions in the Ladakh and Sikkim sec­tors were ini­ti­ated by In­dian troops.

NEW DELHI:: Army chief Gen­eral Manoj Mukund Nar­a­vane on Fri­day vis­ited Leh, the head­quar­ters of 14 Corps in Ladakh, for a se­cu­rity re­view of the sen­si­tive sec­tor amid ten­sions be­tween In­dia and China along the dis­puted Line of Ac­tual Con­trol (LAC), two of­fi­cials said on the con­di­tion of anonymity. He re­turned to Delhi later in the day.

The visit came a day af­ter In­dia re­jected China’s al­le­ga­tion that In­dian troops ini­ti­ated ten­sions and crossed LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim sec­tors and ac­cused the Chi­nese army of hin­der­ing pa­trols on the In­dian side.

Sol­diers on both sides are show­ing re­straint and ef­forts were un­der­way to de-es­ca­late, said one of the of­fi­cials cited above. In­dia and China have de­ployed ad­di­tional troops, es­pe­cially in Ladakh’s the Gal­wan Val­ley, af­ter a face-off near Pan­gong Tso on May 5-6. In­dia bol­stered its troop lev­els af­ter the Chi­nese side brought in re­in­force­ments and also re­port­edly pitched tents and erected tem­po­rary po­si­tions in the Gal­wan Val­ley as part of its ef­forts to es­tab­lish a pres­ence there.

China’s for­eign min­istry first ac­cused In­dian troops of tres­pass­ing across LAC on Tues­day, say­ing Bei­jing had to take “nec­es­sary coun­ter­mea­sures” af­ter the In­dian army al­legedly ob­structed nor­mal pa­trols by Chi­nese troops. A govern­ment spokesper­son on Thurs­day said, “Any sug­ges­tion that In­dian troops had un­der­taken ac­tiv­ity across LAC in the west­ern [Ladakh] sec­tor or the Sikkim sec­tor is not ac­cu­rate.” HT was the first to re­port on May 10 about ten­sions flar­ing

HT WAS THE FIRST TO RE­PORT ON MAY 10 ABOUT TEN­SIONS FLAR­ING UP BE­TWEEN IN­DIA AND CHINA IN NORTH SIKKIM, WHERE 150 SOL­DIERS WERE IN­VOLVED IN A STAND­OFF A DAY EAR­LIER.

up be­tween In­dia and China in north Sikkim, where 150 sol­diers were in­volved in a stand­off a day ear­lier. Four In­dian and seven Chi­nese sol­diers were in­jured dur­ing the con­fronta­tion.

Scores of sol­diers from the two coun­tries clashed near Pan­gong Tso on the night of May 5-6 and a few were in­jured in the scuf­fle that in­volved around 250 men. While a flare-up was avoided as both armies stuck to pro­to­cols to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion, ten­sions spread to other parts of eastern Ladakh, in­clud­ing the Gal­wan Val­ley. Talks be­tween lo­cal com­man­ders have failed to ease ten­sions and diplo­matic chan­nels are at work to end the stand­off, of­fi­cials said. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion along LAC marks the first ma­jor flare-up since the 73-day stand­off be­tween In­dia and China at Dok­lam near the Sikkim bor­der in 2017.

■ Gen­eral MM Nar­a­vane

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