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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rajnath Singh holds high-level meeting on situation in eastern Ladakh

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Rajnath Singh inaugurates 6 bridges built by BRO in Jammu sectorNew Delhi, Sep 11 (PTI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top military brass on Friday deliberated on the five-point agreement reached between India and China on de-escalating tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, government sources said.

The deliberation was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh among others, they said.

The meeting also carried out a comprehensive review of the security scenario in eastern Ladakh in view of fresh confrontation by two sides in the southern bank of Pangong lake earlier this week, the sources said.

“The meeting discussed the agreement reached between the two countries,” said a source.

In the meeting, Gen Naravane briefed about the combat readiness of the Army to deal with any eventualities besides elaborating on plans to keep the forces in the high-altitude region during harsh winter months.

India and China reached a five-point consensus to resolve the four-month border row in eastern Ladakh that included quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions and taking steps to restore “peace and tranquillity” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The agreement was finalised at two-and-half-hours of “frank and constructive” talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday evening on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet.

The Indian Army and the Chinese People”s Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a tense standoff in multiple areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since early May. Shots were fired across the LAC on Monday for the first time in 45 years with the two sides accusing each other of firing in the air.

The fresh confrontation further intensified the standoff and triggered a massive military build up by both sides in almost all friction points along the LAC, the de-facto border between the two countries.

In the last few days, the Army further bolstered its dominance over a number of strategic heights overlooking key Chinese-held positions around Pangong lake area.

The sources said additional reinforcements have been made in hill tops and strategic locations around Pangong lake to keep a hawk-eye vigil on Chinese-held position of Finger 4.

The mountainous spurs in the area are referred to as Finger. China has been holding onto Finger 4 to 8 on the north bank of Pangong lake, the sources said. PTI MPB ZMN

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