Army Chief Reviews Situation Along China LAC With Top Gens

Army Chief Reviews Situation Along China LAC With Top Gens

14 September 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Army chief Gen Bikram Singh today held a high level review of the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along with China, which has been witnessing increased activity from China side for the past quite some time at a high level meeting attended among others by Northern Command chief Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 14 Corps Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma at 14 Corps Headquarters in Leh. Official sources told the Excelsior that Gen Bikram Singh, who reached Leh at 8.30 am today on a day’s visit, was closeted with Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra and Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma for over two hours at 14 Corps Headquarters to discuss and review the situation arising out of frequent Chinese aggressions in Leh, which has also been pointed out by a high level Government Committee headed by National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) chairman Shyam Saran after a visit to Ladakh. Sources said apart from normal official engagements at 14 Corps Headquarters, Gen Singh discussed operational preparedness of the Army, Chinese overtures along the LAC, proposal to airlift troops to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the most problematic zone with China and other sectors in Leh and upcoming Mountain Strike Corps. “The steps to checkmate People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China within the existing resources till new infrastructure was raised, presence of the PLA along the LAC and other operational details were discussed in the two hours long meeting,” they said, adding the Army chief flew back to New Delhi in the afternoon. GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra had reached Leh a day ahead of the visit of the Army chief. Lt Gen Chachra and Lt Gen Sharma gave a detailed briefing to Gen Singh in the two hours meeting held at 14 Corps Headquarters in Leh. Sources said the meeting discussed and devised a strategy to counter Chinese aggressions in Leh, which had been assuming alarming proportions over the past few months. Sources said the infrastructure development along the Indian boundary with China, which topped the Defence Ministry’s priority, was figured prominently in the meeting as the Army Generals were of the view that without raising the infrastructure, it wouldn’t be possible to match the PLA though morale of the troops very high. Over the years, China has strongly developed infrastructure including metalled road and other requisite facilities on their side of the LAC while India badly lacked such facilities, which was being considered as major drawback of the Indian Army. The Army Generals also discussed the proposal to airlift troops to DBO sector and other forward areas along the LAC in Leh. It may be mentioned that Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and PLA were in eyeball-to-eyeball position in DBO sector in April this year till the Chinese Army withdrew after diplomatic pressure maintained by the Indian Government. The Union Government has already approved the proposal to set up Mountain Strike Corps exclusive to counter the PLA. The Corps would be deployed in the areas bordering China including Leh. Recently, India had landed a highly advanced aircraft in DBO sector, which had the capacity of airlifting enough material and manpower. This was second visit of Gen Singh to Leh after taking over as the Army chief on May 31, 2012, which indicated the significance Indian Army attached to Sino-Indian border especially in view of frequent skirmishes between the two sides on the LAC, which had also figured in recent session of the Parliament prompting Defence Minister AK Antony to give a statement in both Houses of Parliament. An official handout said: “the Army chief had detailed interaction with the Northern Army Commander and the 14 Corps Commander in which he was briefed on prevailing security environment, infrastructure, development projects and various initiatives undertaken by the Army in Ladakh. The Army chief also reviewed the logistical infrastructure available to the soldiers and assured quality support to the troops. He expressed his satisfaction over operational preparedness of the formation”. The visit of Gen Bikram Singh to Ladakh comes at a time when concerns have been raised over the increasing incidents of intrusions by the PLA in Indian areas and face-offs between the troops of the two sides. The two countries are also discussing mechanisms to avoid flare-ups between the two sides at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) while patrolling. Recently, a Committee headed by National Security Advisory Board Chairman Shyam Saran had also visited Ladakh to review the border infrastructure and also deal with several aspects relating to the region covering a broad spectrum of activities and requirements. Mr Saran had filed a report dealing with requirement of air facilities in Ladakh region along with matters relating to land acquisition and environmental and wildlife clearances.