Ladakh review on commanders’ table
The ground situation along the Ladakh frontier where Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a standoff since May, besides Indian Army’s winter preparations, will be reviewed during the four-day army commanders’ conference that began on Monday, defence ministry sources said.
The apex biannual conference, chaired by army chief Manoj Naravane, will be attended by top commanders.
“The commanders will carry out a comprehensive review of the security challenges facing the country and assess India’s combat readiness in eastern Ladakh along with other sensitive areas along the Line of Actual Control with China and Line of Control with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir,” a defence ministry official said.
Since May, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is estimated to have taken around 1,000sqkm of India-claimed territory. The government has not, however, confirmed this.
According to an assessment, China has deployed around 50,000 soldiers along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. India has also made similar deployment along the high-altitude frontier.
“The Chinese side is yet to fix the date for the eight-round army commander talks between the two sides. A fresh round of talks was supposed to take place at the end of the last week,” the official said.
The seventh round of military talks between the two armies on October 10 had failed to achieve a breakthrough on the border standoff, triggering apprehensions that the Ladakh frontier could now become a permanently contested militarised zone.
Sources said Beijing continued to resist New Delhi’s demand for disengagement and de-escalation of troops from multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control. As many as 18 rounds of military and diplomatic talks have taken place since May but nothing much has changed on the ground.
Sources said defence minister Rajnath Singh, chief of defence staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Air chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria will address the commanders on Tuesday.
Besides reviewing the security challenges along the borders, the army commanders’ conference will also deliberate on several reform measures to enhance the operational capability of the 1.3-million-strong force.
On the last day of the conference, the director general of the border roads organisation will provide an update on the various infrastructure projects that are currently being undertaken by the BRO and other formations along the borders.