On a day when reports emerged of fresh Chinese incursion in the Chamar sector of Ladakh, Indian officers said it was Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for battalions to be on an ‘alert and ready to move in’ mode, if confrontation ensued when Indian troops stand in eyeball-to-eyeball contact with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
“In the present circumstance, we have to have our troops ready and on stand-by. That’s what we have done, as per our SOP. Other battalions can move in to support troops already there, in case the situation escalates. But at the moment, there is status quo and the situation is the same as it was since the PLA troops put up their tent,” a source said.
The unsavoury confrontation between the Indian Army and PLA troops comes as an Indian delegation, led by a Brigadier from the Military Operations Directorate, plans to go ahead with its scheduled visit to Beijing, where joint army exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ is to be planned and dates for China to host Indian troops later this year are to finalised.
Beijing and New Delhi are also preparing for key bilateral trips, including those of Indian Defence Minister A K Antony and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to the neighbouring country this year, which are to be reciprocated by Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s visit.
Incursions by Chinese troops patrolling the LAC is not uncommon, Indian security officers pointed out. But what has come as a surprise is that for the first time since 1986 in Sumdorong Chu in Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese troopers have refused to return to their bases and have stayed put for about 10 days now. However, much progress has been made in border talks and bilateral ties with a mechanism in place at the local, regional and the highest levels to discuss “transgressions” by troops.Though such incursions are blamed on the differing perception of the LAC on both sides, Indian officers pointed out that there had never been any trouble of this kind in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector. Moreover,
India and China have in place a 2005 arrangement on how to deal with situations when patrolling troops come eye-to-eye along the LAC. “This time too, we did our regular banner drill. Indian troopers carried a message, both in English and Madarin, on a banner informing the Chinese troops that the territory belonged to India and they should return to Chinese territory immediately. But the Chinese have refused to move out, thereby violating the arrangement agreed upon in 2005,” Indian military officers said.
2 airborne units for Northeast
As part of the Indian Army’s modernisation plans, two new specialist parachute regiments are being raised for deployment in the Northeast, basically to counter similar capabilities that China has in Tibet and other areas adjoining Arunachal Pradesh.The Defence Ministry officials told reporters here that the two units would comprise around 1,600 men and these would be raised under the 12th Five Year Plan ending 2017.
The airborne troopers are used for quick insertion behind enemy lines and for taking out key enemy targets in short but effective specialist operations. These paratroopers could also carry out counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in low intensity conflict situations.
The two battalions would come up under the Dimapur-based 3 Corps and the Tezpur-based 4 Corps in Mizoram and Assam.