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Top Army Commanders review India's security challenges, situation along LAC

NEW DELHI (PTI): Top Commanders of the Indian Army on Monday carried out a comprehensive review of the country's security challenges, including in eastern Ladakh and other sensitive areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, on the opening day of a four-day conference, people familiar with the developments said.

The Commanders also deliberated on the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir in the face of a spate of killings of civilians in the Union Territory in the last few weeks, they said.

The conference, chaired by Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane, is taking place in the national capital.

They said the top Commanders reviewed India's combat readiness in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a bitter stand-off for 17 months, though the two sides have completed disengagement at a number of friction points.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to address the Commanders on Wednesday.

They said the Commanders also deliberated on issues relating to human resources and reform measures in the 1.3-million-strong force.

The conference is an institutional platform for conceptual-level deliberations, culminating in making important policy decisions for the Indian Army.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari are also scheduled to address the senior leadership of the Indian Army on avenues for promoting tri-service synergy.

The Army Commanders are also expected to deliberate on various reform measures recommended by separate internal committees, the people cited above said.

They said the discussions on the situation in eastern Ladakh and ways to further bolster India's military preparedness in the region are likely to dominate the conference in the next three days.

"The Commanders will review overall military preparedness in eastern Ladakh as well as in other sectors of the LAC," said one of the people cited above.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

The tension escalated following a deadly clash in Galwan Valley on June 15 last year.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area in August and in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in February.

The last round of military talks on October 10 ended in a stalemate following which both sides blamed each other for the impasse.

In a strong statement after the 13th round of talks, the Indian Army said the "constructive suggestions" made by it at the negotiations were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor could Beijing provide any "forward-looking" proposals.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.

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