Source : Asian News International (ANI)
New Delhi: China has been resorting to the “salami slicing” tactic along the Line of Actual Control to gain territory in a gradual manner and this has led to a “more assertive” response from the Indian Army, former Army chief Gen M M Naravane has said and noted that attempts to change status quo along the LAC have been thwarted.
In ‘Podcast with Smita Prakash’, Gen Naravane said the Chinese army has been trying to alter the status quo along LAC in very “small incremental steps”.
His remarks came days after the attempts by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops to transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh with the Indian Army thwarting the attempt to change the status quo.
“China has been trying to alter the status quo along the LAC for many years, decades in fact, and they have been doing this in very small incremental steps which by themselves do not look very dangerous. They look quite innocuous. What we call salami slicing, coming up one inch at a time. But in the bargain over a period of time they have gained a lot. This is the tactics they have adopted and were continuing to do,” Gen Naravane said.
“There was a time to say this much and no further. So that is what actually happened as they kept trying to probe especially north of the Panong Tso (lake in Ladakh). They come time and again and then they want to make it a historical fact that we have been coming here. They tried to alter the status quo as it is existing,” he added.
With China and India having a differing perception of LAC in certain areas, Gen Naravane said in the two sides patrol upto their perception line but there have been attempts by China to impede this in some areas
“We also patrol upto our perception line, they come up to their perception line. But while this is happening, if the patrols come face to face at the same time, then obviously there is a chance of a clash happening,” General Naravane said.
Asked about the Galwan clash in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in May 2020, General Naravane, who was then the Army Chief, said that the Chinese Army was not “allowing” the Indian Army to patrol to the usual point and triggered a more assertive response from the Indian side.
“It’s not that they came and they were not leaving, they were continuously patrolling up to where they thought they should be coming, but they were not allowing us to go where we ought to go. Therefore, we had to be more assertive and push them back. And that is where the clashes occurred and whether it is the North bank of Pangong Tso or in PP 15 where those unfortunate casualties took place,” he said.
General Narawane, who was the Army Chief from December 31, 2019 to April 30, 2022, said the Chinese Army had established two outposts to stop the Indian Army from patrolling to the usual point PP 15, which was “objected vehemently”.
“As I said, we have always been patrolling upto PP 15, but they were trying to stop us from going to our traditional patrolling point and that was totally unacceptable to us. To stop us from coming, they had established small outposts, you can say, two tents. We objected very vehemently to that but they were adamant that they would not go back. Therefore, we had to be more assertive. That is when they also came with additional strength and entire clash happened in our side of PP 15. As a result, we were able to make sure that they go back,” he said.
In the latest attempt, PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 to change status quo.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament on Tuesday that the Chinese attempt was contested by the Indian troops in a firm and resolute manner.
“The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts. The scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides. I wish to share that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side,” he said.
He said due to the timely intervention of Indian military commanders, PLA soldiers went back to their locations.
As a follow-up of the incident, local Commander in the area held a flag meeting with his Chinese counterpart on December 11 to discuss the issue in accordance with established mechanisms.
Singh said the Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquility along the border and the issue has also been taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels.
Sources said PLA troops clashed with three units of the Indian Army belonging to different infantry regiments who thwarted their attempt to change status quo on the Line of Actual Control.
Sources on the ground told ANI that the troops belonging to three different battalions including Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Jat regiment and Sikh Light Infantry were present at the location of the clash last week when the Chinese tried to unilaterally change the status quo in the area.
Before his elevation as Army chief, Gen Naravane held key command and staff appointments in peace and field both in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir and has been part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.
He commanded a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, raised an Infantry Brigade, was Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) and commanded a prestigious Strike Corps.
His staff assignments included tenures as a Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Defence Attache at Yangon, Myanmar, an instructional appointment in the Army War College as Directing Staff in the Higher Command Wing, besides tenures at the Integrated Headquarters of MoD (Army), New Delhi.
There has been a standoff along LAC in eastern Ladakh since May 2020 due to the actions of the Chinese Army. There has been disengagement from some friction points including from Pangong Lake following several rounds of military and diplomatic talks between India and China but a full resolution still not in sight which has impacted bilateral relationship between the two countries. (ANI)