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Entire situation along India’s border with China ‘under control’: Army chief amid standoff at LAC

Military-level talks between India and China continued for de-escalation in the Galwan region of eastern Ladakh on Friday with top army commanders from both sides meeting to resolve the face-off.

SNS | New Delhi |

Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Saturday assured that the entire situation along India’s borders with China is “under control”.

The Army chief was speaking to reporters amid tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

General Naravane said both the sides are having a series of talks which started with Corps Commander-level talks and is being followed up with meetings at the local level between commanders of equivalent ranks.

As a result of which, the Army chief said a lot of disengagement has taken place on ground. He further exuded confidence that through the continued dialogue, all perceived differences between India and China will be put to rest.

Military-level talks between India and China continued for de-escalation in the Galwan region of eastern Ladakh on Friday with top army commanders from both sides meeting to resolve the face-off.

The fifth round of military-level talks took place even as the troop build-up continued on both sides, days after a slight retreat by both armies at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The talks at the Major General-level focused on three trouble spots in the Galwan area.

Earlier on Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reportedly held a review meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three Service Chiefs to understand the ground situation. It was the second review meeting of the Defence Minister within a week. The first was on June 8, two days after the Lieutenant General-level meeting between the two countries.

Several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies recently, in a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of respective positions by the two sides even two weeks after they were engaged in two separate face-offs.

The nearly 3,500-km-long LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.

Indian and Chinese troops have remained engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in several areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, signalling that the standoff could become the biggest military face-off after the Doklam crisis in 2017.

Further, speaking on Indo-Nepal ties amid reports of tension, Army chief MM Naravane said: “We have a very strong relationship with Nepal. We have geographical, cultural, historical, religious linkages. We have very strong people to people connect. Our relation with them has always been strong and will remain strong in the future.”

The remarks come a day after an Indian national was killed and two others were injured on Friday after Nepal border police fired at them inside Nepalese territory adjoining Bihar’s Sitamarhi district.

SSB DG Chandra, told news agency ANI that SSB 51st Battalion Commandant has already spoken with SP Sarlahi (Nepal) and had apprised SP Sitamarhi about this incident. SP Sarlahi is in touch with SP Sitamarhi. “They will be instituting a case and it is a matter of investigation,” he said.

He further reiterated that the incident is “completely a local issue that has emerged from a local altercation instantly”.

As far Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan is concerned, the Army chief told reporters that the Indian armed forces have had a lot of successes while stating that in the last 10-15 days alone more than 15 terrorists have been killed.

“All of this has been because of very close cooperation and coordination between all security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir,” General Naravane said.

“Most of the operations have been based on information provided by the locals themselves, which goes to show that they are also absolutely fed up with militancy and terrorism and they want that the situation should return to normal,” he added.

A few hours before General Naravane’s view on the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, two terrorists were killed in an encounter that took place between terrorists and security forces at Zadoora Nipora area in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The encounter took place after police and army launched a joint operation in the area on the basis of a specific intelligence input.

This year till June 11, a total 98 terrorists were killed in the valley. In the month of June alone, till the 11th day, a total 20 terrorists were killed. In May, 18 terrorists were eliminated and in April the figure was 28. In March and February, seven terrorists each were eliminated. In January, 18 terrorists were killed.

This year, security forces have managed to eliminate a few of the most wanted terrorists. In May, Riyaz Naikoo, one of Kashmir’s most wanted terrorists and the commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed during an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.