India-China standoff: Army chief Naravane visits Leh; Not a regular visit, opine experts

By: |
September 4, 2020 2:34 PM

Observing that the situation is slightly tense along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Army Chief told the media that “Precautionary deployment was undertaken for protecting and safeguarding integrity.

India China standoff, Army chief, MM Naravane, MM Naravane  ladakh visit, leh, Line of Actual Control, PLA,latest news on india china standoff, defence newsOn reaching Leh, the Army Chief, besides reviewing the operational preparedness of the forces also interacted with the JCOs. (Photo source: ANI photo)

Amid ongoing tensions between India and China related to border issues, the Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane visited Ladakh on Friday to review the current situation as well as discuss the various contingency plans worked out by the local commanders on the ground. On reaching Leh, the Army Chief, besides reviewing the operational preparedness of the forces also interacted with the JCOs.

Observing that the situation is slightly tense along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Army Chief told the media that “Precautionary deployment was undertaken for protecting and safeguarding integrity. The morale of the officers and men is very high who are willing to take on any challenges.”

And reiterated that “The men and soldiers of the Indian Army are the finest in the world. They will not only make the Army proud but the nation too.”

On August 30, in an unprecedented pre-emptive move, Indian Army units had occupied several dominating features on the Line of Actual Control on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso. This manoeuvre rattled the Chinese, as is evident from the tone of exasperation of their spokesperson. “It did not just thwart the Chinese design – earlier on display on the northern bank in the area of Finger 4 – but sent a clear message of the Indian intent,” opine military experts.

Experts’ Views

Indian Army veteran Maj Gen Neeraj Bali (Retd), told Financial Express Online, “The visit of the Chief of the Army Staff General M M Naravane to Leh and the forward areas of Ladakh is a significant move. Army Chiefs are known regularly to visit troops in contact with the opposing forces, but this is not another routine visit.”

In his opinion, “The Chinese will see General Naravane’s visit as a symbol of confidence-laden defiance. Do recall that earlier they use to protest even ministerial visits to Arunanchal Pradesh as a violation of imaginary ‘sovereignty’. This visit is a far greater signal of strength. And it comes on the heels of the visit of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal R K S Bhadauria to the forward airbases.”

“To underscore the strategic importance of the visit is not to downplay the other payoffs. I had closely known General Naravane when he was the eminently successful Commanding Officer of 2 Rashtriya Rifles in the Sharifabad area of Kashmir. He is a soldier’s soldier who hides a steely resolve under a quiet and self-effacing exterior. He understands ground realities well and the dynamics of leadership even better. His presence amid action is no small occurrence. It will further shore up the morale of the troops. Besides, he will add his guidance to the operational plans in place,” Maj Gen Bali concluded.

Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd) sharing his views says, “The recent aggravations on the night of Aug 29/30th by the PLA at the LAC and subsequently while the Brigade Commander level talks were on, have shown the intent of the PLA to alter the LAC at any cost. The Indian Army has its task defined to repel any such attempts as well as ensure that the defensive positions taken do not get compromised by the PLA by occupying heights that make our defences untenable. The local Commanders have carried out readjustment of defences.”

“In certain specific areas depending on the appreciated approaches of the PLA the Indian Army has taken preventive measures. And, the point to be noted in this physical domination of the LAC is that no shots have been fired which can easily aggravate to an active skirmish if not an all-out war, “ the Indian Army veteran shares.

“Interaction with the Commanding Officers as well as the troops on the ground, not only increases the adrenalin of the troops but raises their morale to commit to do the impossible for normal mortals.

These visits are also to take the stock of the logistics and ascertain as well as resolve problems if any by direct intervention to ensure that Operational Preparedness is not compromised by red tapeism or bureaucratic hurdles,” Lt Col Channan opines.

In conclusion, he says, “The need to maintain restraint under the current situation is difficult, but keeping the powder dry is of immense importance as war is the last resort. Political, diplomatic and military level tasks must succeed keeping in mind our National Interests in mind.

The troops on the ground must know that while they commit themselves to safeguard our front line, a grateful Nation stands behind to ensure that they have nothing to worry about for their families who must be stressed out in this uncertain environment.”

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