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Army hints at ‘larger conflict’ due to tense Ladakh situation

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Srinagar: The situation in eastern Ladakh is “very tense” with Chinese troops having entrenched themselves for the winters. The Indian army has also done mirror deployment at all the friction points, despite sub-zero temperatures at many places.

According to locals in Leh, the army is continuously dumping supplies for the winters as thousands of troops are in a battle-ready mode in eastern Ladakh; even winter equipment, along with winter clothing, have reached such places.

Local reporters from Leh suggest that the situation in eastern Ladakh is “very tense” and it can go out of control, triggered by any incident in the coming weeks. Locals maintain that the army is still entrenching itself in the villages close to the border as supplies continue to move for the winters, as the standoff seems not to be over in the near future.

Such sentiments of locals and reporters have been echoed by General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff, who on Friday said that the situation in eastern Ladakh can result in a huge conflict.

He was quoted as saying, “Tense amidst transgressions and belligerent actions by the Chinese, unprovoked tactical military acts can spiral into a larger conflict.”

Speaking at a webinar, General Rawat said that there are less chances of open war with China, but the border situation was more than tense. He also blasted Pakistan for its continuing support to separatists. He was quoted as saying: “Pakistan has continued to remain the epicenter of armed Islamic insurgency and terrorism. For three decades now, the Pakistan army and its intelligence agency ISI have been waging a proxy war in J&K.”

The army is already in the eighth round of talks and is not budging from comprehensive disengagement of troops by the Chinese PLA from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh. There are high costs for keeping more than 50,000 troops in a high state of combat readiness in a terrain like Ladakh where, according to locals, the temperatures on many hill tops have already dipped to minus 20 degrees. According to defence experts, the present deployment of troops means an expenditure of about Rs 200 crore per day.

Sunday Guardian

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