Our preparedness level is very high: General Pandey on situation in East Ladakh

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New Delhi, (CNI) Amid the nearly four-year-old border dispute with China in eastern Ladakh, Army Chief General Manoj Pandey on Wednesday said the readiness level of the Indian Army was of a “very high order”. And the force is keeping a “very close eye” on cross-border developments.

Responding to questions during a panel discussion at the Times Now Summit here, General Pandey also said that he believed that the balance issues at hand could be resolved “only through dialogue”. .

The East Ladakh border standoff began on May 5, 2020, following a violent encounter in the Pangong Lake area.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated significantly after the Galwan Valley clash in June 2020, which marked the worst military conflict between the two sides in decades.

“We are ready in every way. Our level of operational readiness, operational readiness is very high. In terms of our deployments along the entire length of our 3,488 km (LAC) borders, I would say strong and balanced. “We have also ensured that we have enough reserves to deal with emergencies… We have our response mechanism firmly in place,” General Pandey said.

He was asked how well prepared the Indian Army is in the backdrop of the eastern Ladakh border standoff.

“We have had talks at two levels One is at the military level, at the level of our corps commanders, we have had 21 rounds of talks. At the diplomatic level, where we have the mechanism, the WMCC (India-China A working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border issues,” he said, adding that there have been several rounds of WMCC talks since mid-2020.

The 28th session of the WMCC was held on 30 November 2023. “It is my belief that only through dialogue will you find a solution to the balance issues that are at hand while these talks are moving forward, we are also on the development of capabilities along our northern borders are paying attention, among which infusion of technology, modernization is important,” said the army chief.

General Pandey said the Army was also focusing on infrastructure development and “I believe we are moving in the right direction”.

“Our preparedness level is very high and we are closely monitoring the developments and what is happening across the border,” he added.

When asked about the threat perception from China, General Pandey said that we keep assessing the threats from time to time therefore, the risk in the winter months may be slightly different from the risk in the summer months.

As for our western adversary, our northern adversary, I would just say that our level of readiness is very high, the army chief asserted.

On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he pointed out the army formations deployed in the UT, interior areas and in the anti-infiltration grid along the LoC.

Infiltration attempts are ongoing, continuing on both sides in the valley region south of Pir Panjal. But we have a very strong and effective anti-infiltration grid which has proven to be successful,” he said.

On the criticism surrounding the Agnipath scheme, General Pandey said it was a “transformational” change or reform that “we have done over the last several years”.

General Pandey said the feedback received from the units was “very encouraging, very positive”, adding sarcastically that what would happen to Agnew after four years was “in the wrong place”.

About the role of women in the army, he said, “About 128 women officers are now holding the rank of colonel and they are now commanding officers”.

The General was also asked about the role of the Indian Army in controlling the situation in Manipur.

“On the night of May 3-4, I think it was our active deployment, we were able to control the level of violence to a great extent with the involvement of additional forces. Be it the Assam Rifles or the army units deployed there, I would say he has given an excellent account of himself,” said General Pandey.

In terms of preventing harm to non-military or civilian populations, to ensure their own safety, “I would believe they did an excellent job,” he said.

On the challenges there, General Pandey said that there is one aspect of weapons that are still widely available.

He added that there are still a significant number of weapons still available and this is a “cause for concern”.

The army chief said that the issue of cross-border activities and availability of such weapons remained a challenge.

General Pandey said that the situation in Manipur is beyond law and order situation or territorial scope.

“We have to come up with a very comprehensive and a detailed framework to find answers to the issues that are going on there we have a large community of veterans. So, we asked them to engage with people out units are helping internally displaced people in various relief camps.

General Pandey, in his opening remarks, said he saw the Indian Army as “an important contributor and contributor” to the country’s rise.

“I believe that a country’s security and development are closely related while economic growth is the source of development, it is military strength that gives it the ability to meet ongoing and future security challenges and teh India’s development Army’s commitment to the story is absolutely unwavering,” he said. (CNI)

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