In an attempt to downplay clashes between Chinese and Indian troops in Ladakh and Sikkim, Army Chief General M M Naravane said that the two cases were not “interconnected” or part of a “bigger plan.”
In an interview with news agency ANI, Naravane said that the face-off between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops and Indian troops are nothing new. “Temporary and short duration face-offs between border guarding troops do occur along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) due to differing perceptions regarding the alignment of boundaries which are not resolved,” he said.
He went on to say that the armed forces were going to deal with the issue as per protocols. If the matter is not resolved there then another level of dialogue is brought in.
Naravane’s remarks come after Indian forces had a face-off with Chinese forces in eastern Ladakh and northern Sikkim earlier this week.
Speaking about the face-offs occurring at Sikkim and Eastern Ladakh around the same time, the Army chief said:
“It is just a matter of chance that the face-offs occurred at the same time in Eastern Ladakh and Sikkim. We should not read too much into it. It is not part of any stand nor are these two face-offs interconnected. These face offs are also not connected to any domestic or international situation,” Naravane said to Economic Times.
Explaining why these face-offs occur, Naravane told the publication, “ We go up to our set patrolling points and they go to their set patrolling points. Number of times when both of us reach the same place at the same point of time, we both say to each other ‘why are you here?’. As far as we are concerned, it is a routine happening. These faceoffs happen 10 times a year in different places, such as Demchok in Eastern Ladakh, Naku La (in Sikkim) and Yangtse and Dichu (in Arunachal Pradesh). There are 10 to 15 places where these things happen,” he said.
Speaking about the build up of troops, Naravane said there was no build-up on either ends, adding that all the movement in these areas is regular. “ “Regular movement that happens at this time of year, that is what is happening. Our infrastructure development continues. It is part of a long term plan. We are building roads and bridges. This is part of the overall infrastructure plan. They are also developing infrastructure on their side. If some movement of vehicles is taking place it is part of this,” he said to the Economic Times.
Speaking about self-reliace General Naravane said that the Indian Army is always working towards it.
“We also want to get local industry and indigenous players into the fold of making defence-related products. Speaking about the orders placed by the Indian Army, he said, “More than 70-80 per cent of Army's orders both in numbers and cost have gone to Indian firms and we will continue doing it in the future also. Recently, we have signed an order of Rs 70 crores with L&T and we will continue to support indigenisation process," reported NDTV.