New Delhi: As summer sets in, top military commanders in charge of the entire 3,488 km of sensitive Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China are meeting in Lucknow to take stock of the situation and war game strategies for the days ahead, ThePrint has learnt.
The two-day meeting being held Tuesday and Wednesday, is hosted by the Lucknow-based Central Command of the Army, and will see participation of both the Northern and Eastern Army Commanders, besides those of the Western Air Command and the Eastern Air Command.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said that the two-day exercise will take stock of the security situation along the LAC and the strategies that are in place, as well as areas which need more attention.
Sources said a war game will also be played out to fine tune the strategies.
Army sources said Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, will also visit Lucknow Wednesday, where he will preside over deliberations on wide-ranging subjects, concerning military preparedness.
The Army Chief is scheduled to review the deployment of Indian Army formations deployed in Western and Northern borders, while they are transitioning from winter to summer posture, the sources said.
Sources added that Army, Navy and Air force officers are attending a series of discussions focused on reviewing the current international and regional environment, with a view to progressively increase own capabilities through force level optimisation, technology adoption, induction of force multipliers, and also modernisation and improvement of infrastructure.
Operational readiness of troops and equipment to match strategy and tactics are also being reviewed to respond to the emerging threats and challenges, the sources said.
The stand-off between India and China at the LAC is set to complete two years in May this year, with over 50,000 troops on both sides deployed in forward locations.
While there has been a disengagement at four of the five friction points that developed in May 2020 — Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Kailash range, Gogra — tensions at Hot Springs (Patrol Point 15) still needs to be resolved.
Besides these points, there are issues in Depsang Plains and Demchok, which are yet to be resolved, even though both these predate the current stand-off.
During a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had made it clear that disengagement is a must.
Rise in expenditures
Incidentally, Wang had invited Doval to visit China for carrying forward the special representatives talks on border issues, but the NSA had plainly said that this could only happen after “immediate issues are resolved successfully”.
Sources said that while disengagement remains a priority, India is also seeking de-escalation which will involve pulling back all troops and equipment to peacetime locations from the forward positions that they are in now.
Sources also said that while larger changes in India’s Order of Battle (ORBAT) has been carried out, which included rebalancing of troops and strike formations, fine tuning is a continuous process.
Admitting that the stand-off has seen rise in expenditure, especially under the revenue head which caters to day to day expenses in terms of logistics, transport and others, sources said the stand-off has also led to an urgency in modernisation of the forces.
Asked about the “LoC-isation” of the LAC — in terms of increased deployment — as first reported by ThePrint in September 2020, sources said that the focus is on using more of technology to keep track of the situation at the LAC.
“Mountains eat up men. It is not practically possible to deploy soldiers at every inch and hence the focus is on using technology and creation of reserves and specialised units,” a source in the security establishment said.
The Army has created integrated surveillance centres, which relies on inputs generated by deployment of a wide range of cameras, sensors, radars, motion detectors, satellite imagery besides drones, along the LAC.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)