NEW DELHI: Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane has asked top military commanders in the Central and Eastern sectors to be prepared for any eventuality and maintain highest operational preparedness, ANI news agency reported Friday quoting unnamed sources.
Naravane said this after visits to Eastern and Command headquarters on Thursday and Friday. The reported comment comes against the backdrop of tensions and mobilization of troops by India and China along their undemarcated Line of Actual Control border in the Western sector.
On Friday, Naravane was briefed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Central Command Lieutenant General I S Ghuman on both operational and administrative aspects, a statement from the defence ministry said.
The Army chief also met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath during his visit to Lucknow. “It was a courtesy meeting between the two. The chief minister presented a memento to the Army chief during the meeting,” PTI quoted a state government official as saying.
On Thursday, Naravane visited Tezpur-based 4 Corps headquarters and carried out a comprehensive review of India’s military preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. In his interaction with senior Army commanders, the Army Chief asked them to keep up the “high state of alertness” along the LAC in view of the border row with China in eastern Ladakh, a person familiar with the developments said.
Naravane was given a detailed briefing by Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command, about deployment of troops and weaponry along the areas bordering China in eastern sector, the person said.
“The Chief of Army Staff interacted with all the corps commanders of Eastern Command and reviewed the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness in the eastern theater,” the Indian Army said in a statement.
Given the tensions with China in Ladakh, the Indian army had issued instructions to its troops to remain on high alert and significantly ramped up deployment of soldiers at all sensitive points along the 3,488 kilometre long LAC including in the Arunachal and Sikkim sectors.
The Indian Air Force has also put its bases near the borders with China on high alert and deployed additional fighter jets and attack helicopters especially the Arunachal sector, according to the person cited above.
With the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh hitting a roadblock, the Indian Army is preparing to maintain current strength of troops and military hardware along the LAC during the winter months as well.
Senior commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies had met at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAD on 2 August to try and expedite the disengagement process but there was no success. The Chinese military which has pulled back from Galwan Valley and another friction point in Ladakh, has refused to pull back its troops from the banks of the Pangong Tso lake. India has insisted that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger Four and Eight – as the mountain spurs in the area are referred to.
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