The Hindustan Times reported on 3 March that, following a new standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies on the Southern shore of the Pangong Lake, the Indian Army has decided to change its defense posture from border control to border consolidation. Sources familiar with the development said that the Indian army has deployed additional troops and weaponry to the border area.
Photo: The Indian army equipped with main battle tanks (file photo)
Indian media quoted senior Indian military officials as saying that “the Indian Army has gone into a ‘secure border’ mode and has redeployed its military for this purpose, to guard against incursions by the Chinese forces in areas like Ladakh”. According to the report, the Indian Army has deployed a mixed combat team of armoured and mechanised forces in the Depsang Basin to reciprocally defend against attacks by mechanised brigades deployed by the Chinese Army in the area. Meanwhile, another Indian Army combat unit was also stationed in Chumar to ensure control over the Chinese Army’s logistical supply routes.
The Times of India of the 3rd, quoting official sources, said that, taking into account the current situation, Chief of Army Staff Naravane made a two-day inspection of the “Ladakh region” for a comprehensive (first hand) assessment of the local security situation. The anonymous informed source told the Huan Qiu Shi Bao reporter that Naravane had specially postponed a scheduled visit to Burma. He will report to Indian Defense Minister Singh and Chief of Defense Staff Rawat immediately on return to New Delhi after the inspection. A day earlier, Indian Air Force Chief Bhaduria visited the Air Force’s Eastern Theater Command to check the combat readiness of troops along the LAC on the China-India border in “Arunachal Pradesh” (our Southern Tibetan region) and Sikkim. Several Indian media outlets have reported that the Indian military may be preparing for a potential military confrontation.
However, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ statement seems to be cooling down the current situation. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Srivastava said on the 3rd that dialogue at the military and diplomatic level remains the way out for resolving differences, and that “we are committed to resolving all issues through peaceful dialogue” for speedy restoration of peace and tranquility in the border region through complete disengagement and de-escalation of the situation. But he also accused that “the current outcome has been caused by the actions of the Chinese side over the past four months”. In response to the Indian allegations, the Chinese side has repeatedly stated that it was the Indian army that illegally crossed the line and provoked, unilaterally changed the status quo in the border area and violated the agreements and important consensus between the two sides in the first place. According to the Times of India, India and China held a divisional meeting on September 3rd. The report stressed that the meeting between the two sides did not take place inside the building, as is customary, but in an open area.
The French China expert living in India, Claude Alpi, said in an interview with the “Huan Qiu Shi Bao” reporter that the India-China border situation may become more complex in the future in view of reports that “Indian special frontier force” comprised mainly of Tibetan exiles had been involved in the recent (recurrence of) conflict. In his view, this can cause some kind of miscalculation. India Wire news network quoting anonymous analysts said, if the current India-China border standoff continues, there is a strong possibility that long-term confrontation would become the “new normal” between the two countries.
Also, according to informed sources cited in a Hindustan Times report of the 3rd, India, Australia and Indonesia will hold a video conference of Foreign and Defense ministers to strengthen regional cooperation and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of the continuing standoff on the India-China border.