Dalip Singh | New Delhi, May 9 | Updated on: May 09, 2022

What we need is a ‘whole of nation’ approach and in the military domain, this is to prevent and counter any attempt to alter status quo at the LAC

Ten days after taking over as the chief of Army staff, General Manoj Pande on Monday said China’s “intent has been to keep the boundary issue alive” and proposed a “whole of nation” response towards dispute resolution.

General Pande held China accountable as the stand off with the adversary nation in Eastern Ladakh continues over the last two years. Despite fifteen rounds of talks many areas of disagreement remain, eluding peace and settlement of the dispute over borders in Northern and other sectors. He, however, pointed out that many friction areas were resolved also through talks.

“The basic issue remains the resolution of the border. What we see is that China’s intent has been to keep the boundary issue alive. What we need as a country is a ‘whole of nation’ approach and in the military domain, this is to prevent and counter any attempt to alter the status quo at the LAC,” said General Pande in his hour-long interaction with the media in South Block.

The ‘whole of nation’ approach advocated by the army chief seems to second Central government’s various initiatives to hit China including through diplomatic engagements and economically. But, the army chief more than once during his interaction with reporters stated the only way to come out of the military logjam was through talks.

‘Be firm, resolute’

Replying to a specific query on the ground situation at the LAC, he said that “in brief troops continue to hold certain position along the LAC…as per the situation goes, our guidance to them is to be firm, resolute in the task undertaken and prevent any steps to alter status quo“.

So far, he explained further, difference over north and south of Pangong and Galwan areas have been resolved through dialogue. On the “balance areas” too India will have to continue to engage with China and “..good that we continue to talk,” he remarked.

The threat perceptions, he assured, are constantly reviewed to prepare “capability development plan” which is “modern, combat ready, optimally structured” so that the force is “capable of wining war in entire spectrum of war”.

The “re-balanced” and “re-oriented” forces, he added, have “robust posture” along the LAC. Their capabilities ,including that of infrastructure and logistic, are being augmented to support the strategic plan to counter challenges posed by China, he told media.

Theatre command study

The theatre command study by army, highlighted general Pande, is in the final stages and would be submitted in due course of time to the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), which is part of Ministry of Defence (MoD). Pande’s response followed a query on the status of the proposed theatre commands which are supposed to bring together resources of tri-services of army, air force and navy under a unified command to meet threat perception. The chief stated there are some issues still to be addressed and that those would need resolution at certain level. The army, however he stressed, is “committed” to achieving objectives of theaterisation and would “take lead in any manner for the success” of the proposed military strategy.

‘Indigenisation of terrorism’

A new trend, as per the general, of using local terrorists under the garb of new terror outfits has emerged in Kashmir valley since last at least six months. Hinting at Pakistan, he said that the move is to show indigenisation of terrorism in J&K.

Published on May 09, 2022