New Delhi: There has been no withdrawal of Chinese troops from the Ladakh frontier and the ground situation remains the same, said Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday, stating that reports of Chinese soldiers’ movement from depth areas has no relation to the deployment on the Line of Actual Control.
Dismissing reports that 10,000 Chinese soldiers have been redeployed, General Naravane said too much should not be read into either their presence or their going back, as these locations are between 500 to 1,500 kms deep inside Chinese territory.
He also said that the current conflict situation along the LAC in Ladakh remains the same and the Indian Army is keeping a strict vigil and the soldiers are in a state of high alert on the Indian side of the de facto border.
“Today’s situation in Ladakh is the same. As far as the (Chinese soldiers’) withdrawal is concerned, every summer, they come to the Tibetan Plateau for training and return especially as winter sets in. These are traditional training areas from where they go back. We should not read too much into these, whether they are present or absent or go back from these areas. This is nothing new,” Naravane said at his annual press conference here.
“These areas are well off in the depth areas anywhere between 500 to 1,500 kms away from the border. All the same, we keep an eye on them, as these are the forces that could be mobilised and reach the borders in 24 hours to 48 hours so there is a necessity to keep a watch in all the deployments in the Tibetan Plateau.”
He also made it a point to clarify that there has been no decrease in troop strength along with the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation areas along the Line of Actual Control, either on the Chinese side or on the Indian side.
“We need not give too much significance on these comings and goings. What is more important is border areas where eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation is there in all the various friction areas. There has been no reduction of troops in these particular areas. That is where we have to be more concerned and alert.”
Naravane said in May 2020, the Chinese PLA had the first-mover advantage. But in August 2020, India turned the tables when India had the first-mover advantage on the southern banks of Pangong Tso, where Indian soldiers occupied key heights bang on the Indian perceived LAC.