The Indian Army has changed its posture from border management to securing the border on the 1,597 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh after People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aggression in the Chushul sector followed by additional induction of troops and support elements, people familiar with the matter said. The PLA Air Force activity has gone up in the occupied Aksai Chin area with positions being militarily strengthened.
“The Indian Army is now in a secure border mode to pre-empt any Chinese PLA transgressions in vulnerable areas of Ladakh. The repositioning of Indian forces has been done to take the Chinese aggression into account in the area and to ensure that all positions are defended,” said a senior official.
The Indian Army has also matched the PLA’s pumping of troops into the sector by deploying additional specialised forces such as the Special Frontier Force that was raised to counter China after the 1962 war. SFF soldiers had played a lead role in preempting the Chinese PLA, which tried to grab Indian territory five days ago on the southern bank of Pangong Tso. Indian soldiers since then occupy key heights on the southern bank.
The Indian Army has paid special focus by deploying a combat group (a mix of armoured and mechanised elements) at Depsang Plains to match a PLA mechanised brigade and another combat group at Chumar to signal to PLA that it means business and will not allow an inch of Indian land to be taken.
India dominates the Demchok and Chumar area, giving soldiers a clear line of sight to the Lhasa-Kashgar (219) highway, a critical artery for PLA logistics supply. The Indian posture at Chushul clearly indicates that any further PLA perfidy will receive a matching response, a military commander said.
While the PLA, under General Secretary Xi Jinping, is blaming the Indian Army domestically for aggravating the border situation, the Chinese are making no effort to sort out the border row diplomatically or militarily by just restoring status quo ante.
“It is a dead-end posturing as this will not yield any results for PLA as neither side can deploy troops all along the 3,488 km LAC round the clock throughout the year,” said a senior official.
Although the military and diplomatic parleys are on, the Indian Army troopers are leaving nothing to chance and are prepared for the worst case scenario with the decisions taken on the spot not by the headquarters.