With both sides engaged in defusing tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Northern Command chief Lt General YK Joshi said on Saturday the armed forces will ensure China withdraws and restore status quo ante as was the deployment in April. He also said the Indian troops will remain deployed there till total disengagement takes place.
This significant statement by Joshi, who is overall in-charge of guarding the LAC in Ladakh, came in the backdrop of the Chinese not pulling back more than 40,000 troops.
Making the Indian stand clear, Joshi said the Indian troops will continue to be deployed till status quo ante is achieved. It means the Chinese need to go back to their pre-May positions. The first face-off in Ladakh took place on May 5 when the Chinese army obstructed an Indian patrol at the Pangong Tso (lake) leading to fisticuffs.
The Northern Command chief said in an interview to a private channel, “What I can tell you in simple words is that we shall continue all efforts to restore the status quo ante along the LAC. I believe the negotiations and process of this engagement and the commitment of both sides to adhere to the laid down methodology would dictate the timeline of the standoff.”
On the current situation on the volatile border in terms of de-escalation, Joshi said there is a method to every process. The ongoing military talks with the Chinese are no different, and certain commitments are required from the two sides for the process to move ahead positively.
“While we are investing sincerely in this ongoing endeavour to bring about peace along the border, we also remain prepared at all times for any eventuality,” Joshi said.
His observations came after the first phase of disengagement got over some days ago with the Chinese troops pulling back from standoff areas at Galwan and Patrolling Point (PP) 15 but only partially from PP 17A. At Pangong Tso, where the Chinese troops intruded above about five to six kms from Finger 8 to Finger 4 area, they only moved back from the base of Finger 4 to Finger 5 but continue to remain on the ridgelines of Finger 4 overlooking Indian positions.
Meanwhile, the Indian security establishment was not taking any chances and the armed forces were preparing for a long haul. Apprehending a drawn-out withdrawal by the Chinese over the coming weeks, the Indian side was also gearing up for harsh winter.
The winter stocking of essential like clothes, food, and ammunition besides other related items was stepped up and endless rows of trucks were ferrying these essentials. The target was to finish the stocking before snow blocks Zozilla pass lining Ladakh with the rest of the country.