Army Commander: Marginal increase in Chinese exercises in the Eastern sector across LAC
Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Manoj Pande said that there has been a marginal increase in the number of exercises by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Tibet autonomous region in the last few months as India considers alternate border management.
Lt Gen Pande said, “China is carrying out integrated joint operation exercises. They are bringing together various elements of their armed forces. This year there has been an increase in scale and they have continued for a longer duration.”
Speaking to the media at a forward location in Arunachal Pradesh about Chinese activities across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Eastern Sector, Lt Gen Pande said: “So far as the activities on the other side of the LAC is concerned there are three to four issues.”
He said that firstly, annual training exercises carried out by the PLA have increased
Secondly, some of the reserve formations of the PLA which were mobilized have continued to remain in their training areas that again are in the operational depth area, the officer said.
Lt Gen Pande pointed out that both sides are attempting to develop infrastructure closer to the line of LAC and which again leads to certain issues at times.
“Since this infrastructure has come up close to the LAC there has also been a marginal increase in the number of border defence troops.”
Explaining about the recent LAC face-off in the Eastern Sector, he said: “Along this LAC, we have a number of areas and a number of points where patrols from both sides interact either in a scheduled manner or at times at chance encounters. We also have certain areas of different perceptions here wherein our perception of the LAC is different from what the Chinese perception is and especially in these areas sometimes the patrol comes face to face which then results in a face-off.”
The officer added that the force has a robust mechanism, SOP protocols, because of which they are able to resolve such situations as and when they arise.
“The role of our commanders and our junior leaders who are actually leading the patrols I believe extremely important in this context because they are the ones who have to develop a correct understanding with the commanders on the other sides and then if they are any issues that arise we try and resolve it at the local Commanders level and that has worked out well,” Lt Gen Pande said.
The officer said they have robust conflict resolution management in terms of when required organizing meetings between the two sides at different levels.
“We have a mechanism of hotlines, we also meet in what is referred to as border personnel meetings. So far in the Eastern Command, we had three hotlines, the fourth one was recently operationalized.”
Regarding the Chinese activities, the officer talked about the level of operational preparedness of the force.
“We have taken a number of steps number of measures, the foremost is enhancing our surveillance both close to the LAC as well as in the depth areas now this we are doing by synergizing efforts of our all surveillance equipment right from the strategic level till the tactical level where our soldiers actually deployed on the LAC,” Lt Gen Pande said.
“We have adequate forces that are available in each sector to deal with any contingency that may arise and we are also practicing and rehearsing on various contingencies that may come about in certain areas where deployments are thin.”
The officer also stated that they have strengthened the deployment, largely in areas where it was thin.
“I would say there has been no major increase or increment in terms of the number of forces that are deployed at the LAC. We also are looking at maximizing the potential by incorporating the technologies to the maximum extent possible be it in terms of increasing our surveillance, ISR capabilities or in terms of communications and likewise,” he pointed.
When asked about the Chinese continuously breaching the laid-out agreement and protocols, the officer said it is being looked at on a higher level.
In terms of larger guidance, the officer said that strategic guidance in terms of dealing with situations on the LAC is to respect the mutually agreed protocols and agreements and that has been India’s effort, notwithstanding what has been the action or response from the other side.
“Consequent to what happened and what we need to do in the future is something I reckon is being looked at a larger level,” he said.
“Overall, our day and night surveillance capability has seen massive upgrades since last year and we are in a much better position to deal with any eventualities in the region,” one of the sources in the know of developments was quoted in a report by the Times of India.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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