Army briefs govt on China options
New Delhi, April 25
Army Chief General Bikram Singh briefed Defence Minister AK Antony on the matter and discussed the situation with Vice Chief Lt Gen SK Singh who has served in Leh as the 14 Corps Commander and is well versed with the terrain. The China Study Group has been tasked to deal with the matter in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defence Ministry. A flag meeting between the two sides could be held tomorrow. Two previous flag-meetings conducted by Brigadier-level officials have been inconclusive.
The options given by the Army include using the military aggressively. The CSG has so far opted to resolve the matter through diplomatic means while using the Army to keep up the pressure. The troops along the eastern and northern Ladakh have been put on alert. Indian agencies believe that the current move by the Chinese was “a well-thought out plan which was supposedly cleared at the highest level.” It isn’t a localised action by some ‘aggressive’ commander, they feel.
One of the options would be to block the supply routes to the Chinese tent. On an average, a trooper consumes one kg ration per day at this altitude. The Chinese are believed to be 37-38 in number and are in the tent since April 15. There supplies will have to replenished. The Indian side says there has been no replenishment so far. Army’s long-term plan includes having more posts along the LAC. The Chinese, so far, have not altered its tent troop strength, once they do it, other options would be considered, said sources.
The CSG, headed by the National Security Adviser, has the Cabinet Secretary, the Secretaries of Defence, Home and External Affairs as members. It also has the Vice Chief of the Indian Army in it. The Intelligence Bureau and the RAW chiefs can be asked to pitch in.
Army deployment in the North
Extensive road and rail network, including the Golma-Lhasa rail link across Tibet, can facilitate swift movement of
Extensive road and rail network, including the Golma-Lhasa rail link across Tibet, can facilitate swift movement of Chinese troops
The border tussle
New Delhi, April 25
Official sources said the two countries were closely in touch through various diplomatic channels and an attempt was being to put the border standoff behind them as quickly as possible.
Sources said China has raised some concerns with India in recent months regarding the LAC and New Delhi was trying to address these. Sources did not identify China’s concerns but Beijing, of late, has complained about India ramping up its border infrastructure after neglecting it for long.
New Delhi says it has raised concerns regarding increased Chinese activity on the border and frequent incursions by People’s Liberation Army. India has recorded more than 600 ‘transgressions’ along the unresolved LAC over the last three years.
Sources said the border issue between the two countries was expected to figure prominently during talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang when the latter visits New Delhi on May 20. “Surely, the Chinese would not like their Premier’s visit to take place in a negative atmosphere...the whole purpose of the visit would be defeated,” they said.
Khurshid, meanwhile, confirmed that he would bevisiting China on May 9 to do the groundwork for Li’s visit. He was confident that the latest row would be resolved.
Noting that there was a working mechanism between the two countries to deal with such issues, the Foreign Minister said: “Let us allow that mechanism to find its solution, and repeatedly it has found (resolution). We believe that it should be able to do it again.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also made positive noises while asserting that its troops have not caused any ‘provocation’ by violating the LAC.