“Our posturing is unambiguous. We will not accept any shifting of the Line of Actual Control,” he asserted.
“We will not accept any ‘shifting’ of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and unprovoked tactical military actions ‘spiralling into a larger conflict’ cannot be discounted,” Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Friday as the 8th round of senior military commander talks between India and China are underway in Chushul to resolve the ongoing standoff.
“Our posturing is unambiguous. We will not accept any shifting of the LAC. In the overall security calculus, border confrontations, transgressions, unprovoked tactical military actions spiralling into a larger conflict therefore cannot be discounted,” Gen Rawat said addressing a webinar by the National Defence College as part of its diamond jubilee celebrations.
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Talking of the situation in Eastern Ladakh, Gen Rawat said the situation remains tense and Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is facing “unanticipated consequences” of its “misadventure” in Ladakh because of the Indian defence forces firm and strong response.
The Corps Commander level talks began at 09:30 am on the Indian side at Chushul, a defence source confirmed. The Indian stand remains firm for disengagement across entire Eastern Ladakh, the source stated. After the developments on the South Bank of Pangong Tso on August when the Indian Army occupied several dominating features which were lying vacant, China has been pressing for discussing South Bank first and other friction areas later.
This is the first round of talks with the Indian side led by Lt Gen PGK Menon who took over as the 14 Corps Commander on October 13. Lt Gen Menon has attended the last two rounds of talks.
Stating that India faces myriad external security challenges, Gen Rawat said constant friction with two of our nuclear armed neighbours with whom India has fought wars, “increasingly acting in collusion, poses an omnipresent danger of regional strategic instability with potential for escalation, threatening our national integrity and strategic cohesion.”
With no progress in talks to resolve the standoff along the disputed boundary in Eastern Ladakh which has ongoing since first week on May, both sides have made preparations to maintain thousands of troops and equipment in extreme conditions in the high altitude winter.
Addressing the webinar, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said their proactive actions and strong posture was instrumental in dissuading China from making any further attempts to alter status quo in Ladakh.
While both sides had agreed to “stop sending more troops to the frontline” and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground” at the 6th round of talks, there has been no progress on the ground towards resolution.
The standoff has been ongoing since early May following ingress by PLA troops at several locations into Indian held areas. Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have been held since in which India has maintained complete disengagement and deescalation along the LAC and pull back. There was a violent clash at Galwan valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian personnel lost their lives, the first combat deaths on the LAC in over four decades. On South Bank, bullets were fired in the air by both sides another first on the LAC in several decades.