Kibithu (Arunachal Pradesh): The overall situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in the Eastern Theatre is “reasonably calm” and “firmly under control”, eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita said here.
The commander said the situation in the region has been stable and no major “changes or palpable shift of stance has been noted” even as the Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a stand-off in Demchok and Depsang in eastern Ladakh.
He said Army is in a better position now to monitor the area of its interest in the region with the enhancement of infrastructure close to the LAC and induction of various platforms such as drones, helicopters and electronic surveillance equipment
“Let me assure you that the Indian Army is fully prepared to deal with any eventuality in the Eastern Theatre. The border issue with China is being dealt with at all levels to ensure that there is no friction,” Lt Gen Kalita said.
He made the comments during an informal interaction with a group of visiting journalists in Kibithu, a key border post in the Lohit Valley facing China.
Lt Gen Kalita said that the Indian Army is continuously monitoring activities along the LAC and is well-poised to mitigate any challenges.
“We are also continuously monitoring the activities along the borders. We are vigilant and observant of each and every development along our borders,” he said.
India has been ramping up the development of infrastructure along the near 3,500-km LAC following the eastern Ladakh standoff that began on May 5, 2020.
“We have thoroughly prepared ourselves over the period of time and are well poised to mitigate any challenges and eventualities in Eastern Theatre,” he added.
The eastern Army Commander said India and China have a robust mechanism in accordance with bilateral pacts to defuse any emerging situation in the region.
“We have a robust mechanism in place which is in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and various protocols to defuse any emerging situation and tension at the tactical level,” he said.
“We are focusing on operational capability development in all spheres. Mainly the area of focus has been infrastructure development, increasing connectivity and modernisation of Armed forces,” he noted.
The commander said “presently the situation along the borders is reasonably calm and firmly under control. There have been reports of continued infrastructure development by the PLA and we are constantly monitoring the same.”
He said India has adopted a “whole of government” approach to improve the infrastructure in the border areas.
“There have been improvements in forward connectivity, construction of bridge on Brahmaputra river, laying of new railway lines, improvement of air connectivity to all states in the North-East,” he noted.
The eastern Army Commander said his troops have a “well-defined” surveillance plan and there has been a substantial improvement in overall monitoring of the areas.
“Infusion of latest technology coupled with physical surveillance is the means by which we are enhancing our surveillance capability and capacity,” he said.
To a question, Lt Gen Kalita said the dynamics of Eastern Command and Northern Command are totally different as the terrain, size of the area of operation, operational dynamics and objective of operations are all varied in a peculiar way.
“Till now we have been having cordial relations at the functional level of ground commander and there have been hardly any friction areas in the recent past,” he said.
Lt Gen Kalita said the Indian and Chinese sides have well-instituted mechanisms in place like formal interactions and border personnel meetings to resolve the difference of opinions.
The eastern Army Commander was in Kibithu to attend a ceremony where the military station was named after India’s first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat who was killed in a chopper crash on December 8 last year.
The Indian and Chinese armies on Thursday announced that they have begun to disengage from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of eastern Ladakh, marking a significant forward movement in the stalled process to pull out troops from the remaining friction points in the region where the two sides have been locked in a stand-off for over two years.
There has been no progress yet to resolve the standoff in Demchok and Depsang regions. PTI