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Northern border under firm control: Lt Gen Kalita

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KOLKATA, Dec 16 (PTI): Border areas along the country’s northern frontier are “stable” and Indian Armed forces remain “firmly in control”, Eastern Army commander Lt General R P Kalita said on Friday.

Kalita’s assertion comes a week after Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed at the border area of Yangtze, to the north east of the monastery town of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, which had been invaded by China’s PLA in 1962.

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Stating that there are different perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army at several points, he said that eight of these areas are acknowledged by both sides.

Kalita said that the PLA transgressed in one of these areas in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh, which was “very firmly contested” by Indian forces on ground.

“Presently, I would like to assure everybody that the border areas along the northern frontier are stable and we are firmly in control,” General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Eastern Command, Lt General Kalita said.

Maintaining that there were some minor injuries to soldiers of both sides, he said that local commanders were able to resolve the issue by carrying out negotiations resorting to existing protocols.

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“It led to some amount of physical violence, but it was contained at the local level resorting to existing bilateral mechanisms and protocols,” the Eastern Army commander said.

He said that this was followed by a flag meeting at the delegation level at Bumla, wherein the issue was resolved further.

To a question whether there was any incursion by China or any land in Arunachal was being held by India’s northern neighbour, the Army commander said “the short answer is no”.

Kalita was speaking to reporters after a solemn wreath ceremony at Fort William, the Eastern Command headquarters here, on the 51st Vijay Diwas marking the victory over Pakistan by Indian armed forces and Mukti Bahini leading to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

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The Army commander said that as military men, the Armed forces are always prepared to safeguard the nation, “whether in peace or in conflict”, asserting that the primary task of the defence forces is to ensure territorial integrity of the country against any external or internal threat.

“We are prepared for all eventualities and all contingencies,” he said.

Pointing to building of new roads, railway tracks, airports and communication lines, Kalita said that in the last 10-15 years there has been a huge focus on infrastructure development, particularly in the border areas, which is definitely going to enhance the Indian Armed forces’ operational capabilities.

Lt General Kalita further said there were no fresh developments on construction of infrastructure by China at Doklam, the strategic valley in Bhutan at the tri-junction of three countries.

His statement came in the backdrop of media reports of construction of a ropeway at Torsa Nala near Doklam by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

“There has been no fresh development as far as Doklam is concerned with regard to infrastructure development,” he said.

The Doklam standoff in 2017 occurred when a PLA combat engineering unit started building a road in the high plateau leading to a 73 day standoff between Indian and Chinese forces. The imbroglio was resolved through talks.

“Thereafter there is a protocol which is being followed in Doklam area by both sides in which there is regular interaction between the local commanders so that there is no new construction on both sides,” he said in answer to a question on whether China is actively building infrastructure such as roads and ropeways on its side in Doklam.

 

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
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