Nothing can deter the Indian armed forces on remaining steadfast in their call for duty, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Saturday after carrying out a detailed review of India’s military preparedness in forward air bases near the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh amid the nearly eight-month-long Sino-India standoff in eastern Ladakh.
Official sources said Gen Rawat carried out an aerial recce of certain areas and was briefed about key aspects of the security matrix in the region by senior military commanders.
The Army said Gen Rawat visited forward air force bases in the Eastern sector and interacted with personnel of the Special Frontier Force (SFF), the Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) deployed at the “forward most air maintained” posts in Dibang Valley and Lohit sector.
“#CDS said that only Indian soldiers could remain vigilant under such #challenging situations, ever willing to go well beyond the call of duty to safeguard the borders. Nothing can deter the Indian Armed Forces on remaining steadfast in their call for duty,” the Army said in a tweet.
His comments came in the midst of the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) maintaining a high state of operational readiness along the nearly 3,500-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in view of the eastern Ladakh standoff between Indian and Chinese troops.
Nearly 50,000 troops of the Indian Army are deployed in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh as multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded a concrete outcome to resolve the face-off that began in early May. China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials.
The eighth and last round of military talks had taken place on November 6 during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.
Gen Rawat arrived at the Dinjan air force station in Chabua in Assam on Friday afternoon and travelled to Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday.
“#CDS complimented the soldiers for the innovative measures adopted to maintain effective #surveillance and enhanced #operational readiness. He exhorted All Ranks to continue working with same zeal and enthusiasm,” the Army said in another tweet.
Gen Rawat also visited a forward outpost in Subansiri Valley and interacted with soldiers deployed along the LAC, it said.
The sources said Gen Rawat will visit several other strategically located bases in Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday as well to gain first-hand experience of the security scenario. Most of the forward locations along the LAC are currently under the grip of severe cold-wave with temperatures dropping to sub-zero level.
In November, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane paid a three-day visit to various formations under the Army’s Eastern Command and reviewed their overall operational preparedness. The Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command is responsible for guarding the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh as well as the Sikkim sectors.
On Friday, Gen Rawat completed one year as India’s first CDS, a post which was created to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force in dealing with national security challenges.
A key mandate of the CDS was also to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of theatre commands.
In the last one year, Gen Rawat along with the top brass of the three services carried out ground work to establish an air defence command and a Peninsula command initially. The IAF will helm the air defence command and all-long range missiles as well as air defence assets will come under it.
The CDS has been part of the top military brass framing strategies to enhance India’s military prowess in view of the eastern Ladakh row.