Stating that China isn’t showing “honest intent” in the ongoing talks over the tense six-month-long stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday asked top Army Commanders to be prepared for any eventuality.
The minister was addressing the biannual Army Commanders Conference being held in the national capital.
“Batcheet imandari se hona chaiye par imandhari se ho nahi rahi (Talks should happen with an honest intent but honesty is missing from the talks),” sources in the defence and security establishment quoted him as telling the senior officers.
There has been a trust deficit and China’s intent has been questionable, the minister said, adding that the Army should remain “prepared for any eventuality”.
In an official statement, the Army quoted Singh as saying that while the troops are standing firm along the northern borders with China, the ongoing talks for a peaceful resolution of the crisis will continue.
India and China have had seven rounds of talks at the Corps Commander-level until now but have achieved no breakthrough. Another round of discussions is expected to be held soon.
As reported by ThePrint, the Army has started drawing up a summer strategy in Ladakh and is looking at the greater permanent deployment of troops in the area with no immediate resolution in sight to the ongoing tensions.
Govt will back theatre commands
Singh was given a detailed presentation on various aspects of the armed forces besides the situation with China. Though he was supposed to be there for a shorter period, sources said that he spent over two hours with the Army commanders.
The minister complimented the armed forces saying that he is filled with confidence seeing the resolve of the soldiers and the steps taken by them.
He also told the commanders that the government will strongly back the reforms in the armed forces including setting up of theatre commands.
According to plans, five theatre commands are expected to be rolled out by 2022. Instead of having separate commands for every service, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat is working on having a joint or theatre command that can carry out all war-fighting formations under a single commander.
The commander could either be from the Army, Air Force or the Navy.
Talking about other reforms, the Army’s official statement quoted the minister as saying that the creation of the CDS and the Department of Military Affairs was a momentous decision in Indian history and that the concept of integrated battle groups, integrated theatre commands and integrated air defence commands will be game-changers in the way the forces fight future wars.
‘Forces have responded strongly to Pak’
On the issue of Pakistan, the minister said the country has continued to promote terror against India but the security forces have responded strongly.
The defence minister also took to Twitter saying that the government will leave no stone unturned to strengthen the “arms of our armed forces”.
“The Ministry of Defence is committed to facilitate the army in their forward movement on road to reforms and help them in achieving advantages in all areas. We will leave no stone unturned to strengthen the arms of our Armed forces,” Singh tweeted.
Compliments armed forces
In its official statement, the Army said Singh complimented the forces for the high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities which he experienced firsthand during his visits to the forward areas.
“It is our national responsibility to ensure availability of best weapons, equipment and clothing to our troops braving extreme weather and hostile forces to defend our territorial integrity,” he said.
He also paid tributes to soldiers killed at Galwan, Kashmir and the Northeast.
The Army official statement said Singh complimented the efforts of Border Roads Organisation for working under difficult conditions to connect far-flung areas.
Referring to the situation along the Western borders, he appreciated the Indian Army’s response to cross border terrorism and ceasefire violations.
“I compliment the excellent synergy between the CAPF/ police forces and the Army in tackling the menace of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh said. “It is due to the synergised operations in the Valley that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is moving to a stable and peaceful environment conducive for overall growth and development.”