Army chief visits Siachen, Ladakh; reviews operational situation

Indian Army chief, General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday visited forward locations at Siachen and eastern Ladakh and reviewed the operational situation.

He was accompanied by Northern Command chief, Lt Gen Y.K. Joshi, and Leh-based Fire & Fury Corps commander, Lt Gen P.G.K. Menon.

The Army chief was later briefed by Lt Gen Menon on the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness in the Corps Zone, an army statement said.

Gen Naravane interacted with the troops and complimented them for their steadfastness and high morale, while being deployed in some of the harshest terrain, altitude and weather conditions.

This is his first visit to Ladakh since the initial disengagement took place between the Indian and Chinese armies in Pangong Lake area even though the situation across eastern Ladakh hasn’t been resolved. The military tussle between India and China started in May last year.

There have been 11 rounds of Corps Commander level talks so far between both the countries.

After 11th round of talks this month, India and China agreed to resolve outstanding issues aimed at disengagement at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh paving way for complete de-escalation.

“The two sides agreed on the need to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols,” a joint statement said.

The 11th round of Corps Commander talks at Chushul happened after a nearly two-month gap. The Indian military delegation was led by Lt Gen Menon.

The two sides had a detailed exchange of views for the resolution of the remaining issues related to disengagement along the LAC.

As the India-China military tussle almost completes a year, the tensions remain, even though disengagement has been successful in Pangong Lake. Tanks and troops from both sides have pulled back and there is no eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation but the build-up across eastern Ladakh continues.

After the recent talks, the two sides agreed that it was important to take guidance from the consensus of their leaders, continue their communication and dialogue and work towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.