Reiterating India’s firm commitment to counter any misadventure mounted by Chinese forces, the Defence Ministry in its annual report has stated that the “unilateral and provocative” actions by the Chinese military to change status quo by force in more than one area on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were responded to in a “firm” and “non-escalatory way”.
The report also mentioned that Indian troops are prepared for any eventuality while also adding that talks are progressing to resolve the issue amicably.
“Unilateral and provocative actions by the Chinese to change the status quo by force, in more than one area on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), were responded to in a firm and non-escalatory way, ensuring the sanctity of our claims in Eastern Ladakh. Indian Army has maintained all protocols and agreements between the two countries while the PLA escalated the situation by utilisation of unorthodox weapons and amassing a large number of troops,” the report said.
With regards to the violent Galwan Valley skirmish of June 15 where 20 Indian bravehearts led by Col Santosh Babu were martyred, the report also mentioned that the Chinese side also suffered “significant casualties”. The India-China border stand-off has been continuing for over eight months now.
“In a major skirmish in Galwan, 20 brave Indian soldiers lost their lives while preventing PLA troops from ingressing into our territory. The Chinese also suffered significant casualties.”
The report also said that on August 28 and 29, Indian troops in a precautionary deployment, pre-empted Chinese “expansionist designs” and occupied heights along the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake.
The report also stated that Indian Army, along with IAF’s assistance, galvanised troops including accretionary forces in a very short span of time including heavy equipment like guns, tanks as also ammunition, rations and clothing.
“Advance Winter Stocking (AWS) and winter preparations for the enhanced strength have been completed and troops are well entrenched to counter any misadventure by Chinese forces. While the Indian Army is prepared for any eventuality, talks are also progressing to resolve the issue in an amicable manner,” the report said, adding that Indian Army has resolutely countered adversaries on the Line of Control (LC) and LAC and carried out relentless counter-insurgency and counter-terror operations.
“There has been no let-up in operational readiness along the LC, LAC, hinterland and the security of military establishments. Indian Army has not just ensured force preservation but has also ensured that operational readiness remains unaffected in order to safeguard the borders of the nation,” the report said.
The report also said the ‘whole of government’ approach was directed against the “terror ecosystem” and that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has seen marked improvement due to consistent efforts by forces.
“On one hand, high level of alertness by troops along the Line of Control (LC) blunted Pakistan’s endeavours to infiltrate terrorists into the Valley, at the same time, high tempo of kinetic operations in the hinterland ensured denial of operational space to terrorist organisations,” the report said. The report also outlined how ceasefire violations committed by Pakistan Army were given a befitting reply by Indian troops.
“Counter infiltration grid was strengthened resulting in neutralisation of a number of terrorists along the LoC. A number of attempts to smuggle arms, ammunition and contraband were also foiled along the LoC,” the report said.
“Residual terrorist strength in the Valley now is below 200 and local recruitment is decreasing giving a serious blow to the nefarious designs of Pakistan to ‘indigenise’ the movement and fuel unrest in the Valley. Attempts to spread violence south of Pir Panjal Range have been comprehensively defeated by proactive operations. All possible steps are being taken to provide a secure environment to the Awaam of Jammu and Kashmir,” the report said.
The report also mentioned how the Centre was modernizing defence forces including various functional aspects of the IAF and the Indian Navy.