Don’t test our patience: Army chief to China on LAC row

by Buzz Street Times

In his Army Day address at the Parade Ground in Delhi Cantt, General MM Naravane said the morale of the soldiers deployed in forward areas in the Ladakh sector was higher than the mountains they were defending

In a strong message to China amid the ongoing border standoff in eastern Ladakh, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Friday said while India was committed to resolving the row through military and diplomatic talks, “no one should commit the mistake of testing our patience.”

In his customary Army Day address at the Parade Ground in Delhi Cantt, Naravane said India had given a fitting response to the (Chinese) conspiracy of attempting to unilaterally change the status quo along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) where India and China have been locked in a standoff for over eight months. “I want to assure the country that the sacrifice of the Galwan braves will not go in vain,” he said.

The army chief said the morale of the soldiers deployed in forward areas in the Ladakh sector was higher than the mountains they were defending.

On the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the army chief said 300 to 400 terrorists are present in camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and waiting to sneak into India.

Earlier this week, Naravane said the army was prepared to hold its ground in eastern Ladakh “for as long as it takes” to achieve national objectives in case the ongoing military and diplomatic talks with China to reduce tensions in the sensitive sector are “prolonged,” even as he described a joint threat from China and Pakistan as “very potent.”

He said India should not read too much into the recent withdrawal of Chinese troops from depth areas on the Tibetan plateau as there has been absolutely no reduction of troops by either side at friction points in the Ladakh sector.

Hindustan Times reported on Monday that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has moved back at least 10,000 soldiers from depth areas in the Ladakh theatre to rear positions but the PLA’s frontline deployments remain unchanged.

Speaking to reporters at his customary annual press conference on January 12, Naravane said he was hopeful that the ongoing dialogue with China would yield an “amicable solution” but stressed that the operational preparedness of the army was of high order and the force was ready to deal with any eventuality.

The two armies are due to hold the ninth round of military talks between their senior commanders to resolve the lingering border dispute that has brought chill to ties between India and China.

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