NEW DELHI: India has decided to prepare for the long haul if China does not comply with the agreements and retreat to status quo ante as of April. Army Chief General MM Naravane met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday after the latter’s return from Russia and apprised him of the situation. They discussed various options the Army is ready to exercise along the Eastern Ladakh border.
Apart from the current operational situation, plans to handle the stand-off in case it gets protracted due to the Chinese non-compliance of agreements, were discussed.
“The Army Chief discussed options to handle the situation in case Chinese delays withdrawal from all stand-off sites,” a source said. Army Commanders have been already instructed to maintain a steady supply of arms, ammunition and spares through emergency procurement.
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Rajnath Singh described his meetings in Russia on various defence proposals as productive. “My discussions were very positive and productive. I have been assured that ongoing contracts will be maintained — not just maintained, in a number of cases they will be taken forward in a short time. All our proposals have received positive response,” he said.
On the diplomatic front, India’s envoy to China Vikram Misri took the bull by its horns, saying the only way to resolve the military stand-off along the LAC is for China to stop erecting new structures. He reiterates the ministry of external affairs’ position that China’s claim of sovereignty over Galwan is completely “untenable”, adding such exaggerated claims would not help resolve the problem.
Misri warned that China’s attempt to alter status quo on ground can have ‘ripples and repercussions’ in broader bilateral relationship. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US is reviewing the deployment of its forces to suitably counter the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s increased threat to countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.
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“We’re going to make sure we’re postured appropriately to counter the PLA. We think that the challenge of our times, and we’re going to make sure we have resources in place to do that,” Pompeo said at the virtual Brussels Forum 2020. According to Pompeo, the review is being undertaken following directions from US President Donald Trump. “As a part of the review, the US will reduce the number of troops in Germany from around 52,000 to 25,000.”
“In certain places there will be fewer American resources. There will be other places. I just talked about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, so now threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia, South China Sea challenges, the Philippines,” he said.
The US Secretary of State said that the re-deployment will be undertaken after full consultations with partners around the world and ‘certainly our friends in Europe. “To the extent that that changed, the difference in what the US decided to do impacts adversely a threat some place, it may be that other nations need to step up and take responsibility for their own defence in ways that they hadn’t done previously,” he said.
Missile system, spares on shopping list
India has been requesting Russia to expedite the delivery of S-400, a strategic missile system, and the supply of spare parts for important systems. It has also sought the production of the Kamov helicopters for Navy and the manufacture of Kalashnikov rifles in India. Proposals to buy MiG 29s and Sukhois were approved last year