Indian Army Chief Naravane visits Leh amid the standoff between India-China

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Naravane visited the forward areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) amid India and China’s ongoing standoff. The General reviewed the ground situation at Leh and had discussions with the military commanders.

The Army Chief was the one-day visit to Leh and was received by the Lieutenant-General PGK Menon. Naravane met 14 Corps, which is known as Fire and Fury Corps. 

Naravane visited forward areas of the 14 Corps, including Rechin La, and undertook a first-hand assessment of the LAC situation. He was briefed by Menon and other local commanders on the operational preparedness of the forces.

The Army chief undertook the spot inspection of the state of troops’ habitat on the forward line of defenses at RechinLa. He appreciated the efforts made by the formation to make troops comfortable along the LAC.

After that, the General visited forward base Tara and interacted with the local commanders and troops. He appreciated their high morale and state of readiness.

General MM Naravane interacted with the troops deployed in forwarding areas and exhorted all ranks to continue working with the same zeal and enthusiasm. He also distributed sweets and cakes on the eve of Christmas.

It is to be noted that the situation at LAC is tense between India and China. Eight rounds of Corps-Commander level talks have not so positive. Still, both the countries are locked in at LAC. As per the reports, around 50,000 troops of the Indian Army have been deployed at LAC.

The weather of Ladakh is extreme during the winter. Considering the winter, the Army has built extreme weather habitat to accommodate the thousands of troops deployed at LAC. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat had visited Ladakh in July 2020 and addressed the soldiers associated with the Fire and Fury Corps. The visit assumed great significance as on the intervening night of June 15-16. A violent face-off took place between the Indian Army and China’s PLA. While the Indian side said it lost 20 soldiers in the face-off, Beijing has never confirmed its casualties. However, some reports say that China lost around 30-40 soldiers.

Background of India-China standoff

On June 15, 2020, India and China were close to fighting because of the Galwan valley clash. In the Galwan valley clash, nearly 20 Army were killed without a shot being fired by the two sides. Indian govt said that both sides suffered casualties. But, China did not accept any casualties of its soldiers.

The side of the clash, Galwan Valley, is located at LAC. India and China share more than 3,440km (2,100 miles) long and have overlapping territorial claims.

On the standoff, India blamed China for trying to change the Eastern Ladakh region’s status unilaterally. China, too said that the Indian side is solely responsible for the skirmish.

Where is the Line of Actual Control (LAC)?

The LAC is situated at the east of the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers. Both India and China have been patrolling in recent years. After the June 15 clash, China claimed the entire valley lies on its side of the LAC. China has been objecting to India’s road construction activities at the western end of the valley. Beijing is now saying the entire valley is on its side of the LAC. India has rejected the claim as “exaggerated and untenable.”