Won\'t allow change in LAC status quo, pledges Army Chief

The Army Chief said that Indian troops are holding important physical positions at the LAC

New Delhi: The Indian Army’s new chief, Gen. Manoj Pande, on Sunday asserted that India will not permit any change in the status quo or any loss of territory at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. He said that the resolution to the military standoff at the LAC will be achieved by a mix of diplomatic, operational and tactical methods.

“The unilateral and provocative actions by our adversary to change the status quo by force, I feel, have been adequately responded to,” Gen. Pande told a news agency. He said that as far as the LAC situation with China is concerned, Indian troops are present in a firm and resolute manner ensuring that there is no change in the status quo.

The Army Chief said that Indian troops are holding important physical positions at the LAC. “We are clear that we will not permit any change in the status quo and any loss of territory,” he said.

Gen. Pande said that India's focus has also been on the development of infrastructure to match the operational and logistics requirements. “In the end, our aim is to reduce the tension along the LAC and restoration of the status quo as it was earlier,” he said.

Speaking to the media on the India-China military standoff in Ladakh for two years, he said: “The resolution will be possible only if two countries continued to talk and engage. We are confident that by a mix of diplomatic, operational and tactical methods we will soon find a resolution to the ongoing problem.”

On Pakistan, the Army Chief said that after the directors-general of military operations (DGMOs) of the two countries arrived at an understanding a year ago, there has been an improvement in the situation for the civilian population on both sides of the Line of Control.

However, he said there was no reduction in the terror infrastructure and terror camps across the LoC. “On the contrary, we find that the number of terrorists operating has increased. Whilst on the LoC the infiltration and violence levels have gone down, in the hinterland there is no indication to that effect,” said Gen. Pande.

He said due to the strong counter-infiltration grid at the LoC, Pakistan has shifted its focus to nacro-terrorism. The Army Chief said that on the international border area in Jammu and Punjab activities like smuggling of arms and narcotics and dropping of arms through drones have increased.

“We are clear that if we see any act of terror or any hybrid threat in terms of infiltration, radicalisation through the social media, we will counter these threats and we are sure that we will succeed,” said Gen. Pande.

The Army Chief said that his “utmost and foremost” priority would be to ensure high standards of operational preparedness to face current, contemporary and future security challenges across the entire spectrum of conflict.

He said that the global geopolitical situation was changing rapidly “as a result of which we have multiple challenges ahead”. Asserting that the Indian Army in “coordination and cooperation” with the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy will together deal with any situation.

Gen. Pande said he will focus on the ongoing reforms, restructuring and transformation of the Indian Army to enhance its operational and functional efficiency besides giving importance to achieving self-reliance in defence. Gen. Pande was presented a ceremonial guard of honour on Sunday morning at the South Block lawns, a day after he took charge. The heads of the IAF and the Navy, Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari and Adm. R. Hari Kumar, were also present at the ceremony.

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