New Delhi: India’s armed forces have military options if talks with China to restore status quo ante along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) did not yield any results, India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat has said on the prolonged border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
“The military option to deal with transgressions by the Chinese Army in Ladakh is on, but it will be exercised only if talks at the military and the diplomatic level fail,” Rawat was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Rawat however did not spell out any details of the military options he felt India could exercise to push back the Chinese troops, ANI reported on Monday.
Similar comments by Rawat were first published in the Hindustan Times on Monday.
The stalemate in Ladakh, where multiple intrusions by the Chinese army were detected in May, has not been resolved despite five rounds of talks between military commanders of India and China. There have been four rounds of diplomatic talks too without any breakthrough.
The stand-off between India and China which started in April-May led to clashes and on 15 June, 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in Galwan Valley. The clash was worst between troops of the two sides in more than 45 years along the Line of Actual Control.
The two nations had agreed on disengagement ever since but the withdrawal of troops is still not complete. The formal process of disengagement of troops began on 6 July, a day after a telephone conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on ways to bring down tensions. But the process has been at a standstill since mid-July. Chinese troops have pulled back from Galwan Valley and certain other friction points but the withdrawal of troops has not progressed at Pangong Tso, Depsang and another area ie patrolling point 17A.
India’s position has been that the Chinese troops should withdraw to position they held in April. There is a growing view in the Indian Army that the Chinese military is not serious about the resolution of the border conflict, a PTI report said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Rawat and the three service chiefs meet regularly to take stock of the India’s military preparedness in eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army has plans to maintain its current strength of troops in all key areas in eastern Ladakh in the harsh winter months. It is also in the process of procuring weapons, ammunition and winter gear for the frontline troops to withstand harsh winter conditions where the temperatures can drop to minus 25 degree Celsius.