Three years after Galwan clashes, border standoff lingers on

"The infrastructure development along the entire LAC is taking place at a fast pace. The main focus has been to bring down the infrastructure differential," said a source.
A satellite photo of the Ladakh region near the Line of Actual Control between India and China. (File Photo | AP)
A satellite photo of the Ladakh region near the Line of Actual Control between India and China. (File Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: India has significantly enhanced military infrastructure, surveillance and combat capabilities along the nearly 3,500 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China since the deadly clashes in Galwan Valley in 2020, sources in the defence establishment said Wednesday on the eve of the third anniversary of the hostilities.

The Indian and Chinese militaries are engaged in talks to reduce tensions along the frontier as the two sides are still locked in a standoff at a few friction points though they managed to disengage from some others.

The Galwan Valley clashes on June 15, 2020, were the first deadly skirmish between the two militaries along the LAC in five decades and they significantly strained the bilateral ties.

India has managed to significantly reduce the "infrastructure differential" with China along the LAC in the last three years in view of consistent focus on building helipads, airfields, bridges, tunnels, troop habitats and other required facilities, the sources said when asked about measures that have been taken following the Galwan clashes.

"The infrastructure development along the entire LAC is taking place at a fast pace. The main focus has been to bring down the infrastructure differential," said a source.

Our troops and equipment are adequately deployed now to deal with any eventualities, the sources said. We are maintaining a posture that is focused on defeating any evil design by the adversary, they said.

The sources identified the strengthening of all forms of surveillance including electronic ones as another significant aspect of boosting overall military preparedness by the Indian armed forces.

"The overall efforts to enhance the infrastructure, surveillance and military capabilities are based on a whole-of-the-government approach," the source said.

It is learnt that senior commanders of the Army's Northern Command would review the overall situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh on Thursday.

The need for quick mobilisation of troops and weapon systems gained renewed focus in the wake of the lingering border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh.

Following the escalation in tension in the eastern Ladakh standoff, the Army has taken a series of measures to boost its operational capabilities in the eastern sector including procurement of all-terrain vehicles, precision-guided ammunition, high-tech surveillance equipment, radars and weapons.

The militaries of the two countries held 18 rounds of high-level talks so far with the objective of taking forward the disengagement process in the remaining friction points and restoring peace and tranquillity along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

The 18th round of high-level military talks between the two sides were held on April 23 during which they agreed to stay in close touch and work out a mutually acceptable solution to the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh at the earliest.

The two sides completed disengagement in several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

On June 8, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that any expectation of normalisation of India's ties with China when the border situation in eastern Ladakh is not normal is unfounded.

"The fact is the relationship is impacted. And the relationship will continue to be impacted. If there is any expectation that somehow we will normalise (ties) while the border situation is not normal, that's not a well-founded expectation," he said.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake area.

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