Nearly 10,000 Chinese troops have withdrawn from their depth areas. However, army chief says, ‘too much significance on these comings and goings should not be given.’
There has been no reduction in the strength of the Chinese PLA troops at friction points in eastern Ladakh, says the Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane. At the annual press conference ahead of the Army Day on January 15, the army chief said “A number of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units and formations come to Tibet for their training every summer. And they go back once the winter sets in. These traditional areas which have been vacated are well in-depth and are away 500-1500 km away from the border.”
Nearly 10,000 Chinese troops have withdrawn from their depth areas. The area from where they have moved back is around 100 km from the southern banks of the Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.
“Too much significance on these comings and goings should not be given. The army is keeping an eye on them as these are forces and can be mobilized in 24-48 hours,” he added.
According to him there has been no reduction of troops in friction areas or where both sides are in the eyeball to eyeball situation.
View of an Indian Army veteran
Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd) says, “The month of December and early January has been busy with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) weighing the options on the deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It has resulted in some positive steps in confidence-building measures, by the controlled withdrawal of troops from the depth areas.”
This is no way an indicator that the Chinese PLA has decided to vacate the intrusions and fall back to the deployment which is to the positions of March 2020.”
According to him, “The Front line troops remain in “Eye Ball to Eye Ball” contact and the mere fact that a PLA soldier lost his sense of direction and accidentally came across on to the Indian side; has since then been returned, gives close proximity of the deployment.”
“The weather being inclement is rationale enough to pull back troops till the winter thaws and fresh troops are brought in the summer months. The Chinese are building their infrastructure so is the Indian Army as this is the pragmatic thing to do.”
The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (ACM) RKS Bhadauria and CDS Gen Bipin Rawat have been in Leh to review the ground situation and take a first-hand account of operational and logistics issues on the ground, across the entire sector of Ladakh and Siachin Glacier.
“The Indian Army has been quick to allocate troops by re-structuring the order of battle of its formations. A step in the correct direction as an offensive capability must be developed in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors. It’s a fine-tuning of the current deployment of the Indian Army and it’s Central Armed Police Forces who need to step-up and take more responsibilities in aid to civil authorities in maintaining law and order in areas where there are unrest and civil strife,” he opines.