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Army Chief Gen Pande visits forward posts along LAC in eastern Arunachal

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NEW DELHI, Jan 23 (PTI): Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Pande has carried out a comprehensive review of India’s military preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh in his first visit to the border state after last month’s clash between Indian and Chinese forces in the Tawang sector.

Officials said Gen Pande visited various forward posts along the de-facto border with China in the Rest of Arunachal Pradesh (RALP) as well as some other strategically key posts during his visit to the northeastern state.

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They said senior commanders in Arunachal Pradesh briefed the army chief about the overall security scenario in the border areas.

“Gen Manoj Pande #COAS visited units & formations along LAC in Eastern #ArunachalPradesh & was briefed on operational preparedness & security situation. #COAS complimented troops for maintaining sharp vigil & exhorted all to continue working with same zeal & devotion,” the Army tweeted.

On Saturday, Gen Manoj Pande reviewed the Army’s military preparedness along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim during his visit to the headquarters of the eastern Army command in Kolkata.

Gen Pande’s visit to the crucial command came six weeks after the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in an area along the LAC in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.

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The Eastern Command takes care of the LAC in the Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim sectors.

There has been a fresh spike in tensions between India and China after troops from the two sides were engaged in the clash along the LAC at Yangtse in the Tawang sector on December 9.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on December 13 that the Chinese troops tried to “unilaterally” change the status quo in the Yangtse area but the Indian Army compelled them to retreat by its firm and resolute response.

On January 12, Gen Pande said the situation along the frontier with China is “stable” but “unpredictable” and Indian troops are adequately deployed to deal with any contingencies.

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He also said that there was a slight increase in the number of Chinese troops in their areas across the eastern sector. “But we are keeping a close watch on the movements and activities there,” he said.

Besides eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army has been also focusing on enhancing infrastructure along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Following the eastern Ladakh standoff, the Indian Army significantly shored up its operational capabilities along the LAC in the eastern theatre as well.

The Army put into place an effective surveillance apparatus and there has been a substantial improvement in overall monitoring of the areas in the last two years, military officials said.

From the construction of roads, bridges and ammunition depots to bolstering its surveillance apparatus, the Army is ramping up military infrastructure at a rapid pace for quicker mobilisation of troops in the region.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over 32-month standoff in several areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.

The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

In September last, the Indian and Chinese militaries carried out disengagement from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area.

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