New Delhi: The Indian Army is ready for a long haul along the Line of Actual Control but hopes for an amicable solution in the nine-month-long standoff with the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Tuesday.
"We are prepared to hold our ground where we are for as long as it takes to achieve our national goals and interest," said General Naravane during an annual presser in New Delhi.
General Naravane said that last year the Army had to walk the talk to meet the challenges and the force did so successfully. "The first and biggest challenge was Covid and the next was the situation at the northern border," he said.
Talking about the situation in Ladakh, he said that Indian Army is on high alert not only in eastern Ladakh but across the northern border with China. He also said that there has been a first-mover advantage so the Indian Army is fully alert.
"We carry out periodic review of our operations plan and strategy to deal with various threats both on the internal and external fronts - one front or two fronts. Based on these reviews we carry out a certain amount of rebalancing. This is a continuous and an ongoing process," he said.
As the eastern Ladakh experience has shown, there was a need for a certain amount of rebalancing towards the northern border.
"Eight rounds of talks took place between military commanders on either side. Each of these rounds were either preceded or forwarded by a diplomatic engagement - WMCC," he said.
Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) is an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the management of India-China border areas.
"The talks are an ongoing process. We will ensure that through the medium of these talks we reach a solution that is acceptable and non-detrimental to our interest," he said.
He stressed that if talks get prolonged, the Indian Army is prepared to hold the ground as long as it takes.
He also said: "We have gone into a winter deployment situation... We (India and China) will reach amicable solutions. However, we are ready to meet any eventuality."
He also said there was no cause for concern on the logistical issues and the force's operational preparedness is of a high order. "The morale of the troops is high," General Naravane said.
On the situation of standoff, he said: "The situation at the Line of Actual Control is the same as it was last year. The status quo remains the same. We have received directions from the government to remain in the same position where we are deployed at the friction point."
"There is no change in the deployment in the friction area in eastern Ladakh," said the Army Chief, adding that there is no decrease in the number of troops in the friction areas.
He also said that a collusive threat from Pakistan and China exists and they together form a potent threat and the force is fully capable to deal with it.
India and China are engaged in a nine-month-long standoff at the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.