Army Chief visits forward areas in Ladakh; reviews combat preparedness
New Delhi: Army Chief Gen M M Naravane on Wednesday visited various forward areas in eastern Ladakh and awarded ‘Commendation Cards’ to a number of soldiers for displaying exemplary grit and courage in dealing with recent face-offs with Chinese army, official sources said.
On the second day of his visit to Ladakh, Gen Naravane took stock of the Army’s combat preparedness in four forward areas and interacted with soldiers deployed there besides holding detailed deliberations with ground commanders.
The Indian and Chinese armies were involved in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and around 76 others were injured. China has not yet revealed about casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The Army Chief’s visit to the region came in the midst of China rapidly increasing number of troops and weaponry along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Ladakh region including in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring.
The sources said Gen Naravane awarded ‘Commendation Cards’ to five Army personnel who fought valiantly during the recent face-offs with Chinese army in the region.
The Army Chief reviewed the overall security situation in the region with Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi, commander of the 14 Corps Lt Gen Harinder Singh and other senior Army officials on both Tuesday and Wednesday, they said.
“General M M Naravane #COAS visited forward areas in Eastern #Ladakh and reviewed operational situation on the ground. #COAS commended the troops for their high morale and exhorted them to continue working with zeal and enthusiasm,” the Army said in a tweet.
Soon after arriving in Leh on Tuesday, Gen Naravane visited an Army hospital where 18 soldiers injured in the clash in Galwan Valley are undergoing treatment.
When asked about awarding of “Commendation Cards” by Gen Naravane to a number of soldiers, an Army source said “whenever the Chief of the Army Staff visits formations or units, it is a norm to award Commendation Cards to personnel who exhibit exceptional devotion to duty.”
“In the instant case also, personnel have been awarded for devotion to duty,” the source said. It is learnt that soldiers who have been awarded the “Commendation Cards” fought valiantly in the Galwan Valley clash.
The Leh-based 14 Corps is tasked with taking care of security situation along the LAC in the Ladakh region.
On Monday, Lt Gen Singh held a nearly 11-hour meeting with Commander of the Tibet Military District Maj Gen Liu Lin.
In the meeting, the two sides arrived at a “mutual consensus” to “disengage” from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The first round of the Lt Gen talks were held on June 06 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.
However, the situation along the border deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the 3,500-km de-facto border.
It is learnt that China has significantly increased number of troops in several other sectors along the LAC including in Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.
On Sunday, the government gave the armed forces “full freedom” to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure along the LAC.
The Army has already sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last one week.
The IAF has also moved a sizeable number of its frontline Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to several key air bases including Leh and Srinagar following the clashes.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 05 and 06. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 09.
Prior to the clashes, both sides had been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it was necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.