Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Saturday said that India’s armed forces are well-prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency, adding that the sacrifice of personnel killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh would not go in vain, PTI reported.

We are not at war with China, but we [are] fully geared up to meet any contingency arising out the recent conflict on the Line of Actual Control ,” Bhadauria said, according to the Hindustan Times. He was addressing a combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy near Hyderabad.

“The gallant actions of our soldiers who lost their lives during the confrontation with the Chinese forces has demonstrated the resolve to protect the sovereignty of our country at any cost,” he added. “It should be very clear that we are well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency. I assure the nation that we are determined to deliver and will never let the sacrifice of our braves of Galwan go in vain.”

The clash on Monday night in the Galwan Valley resulted in the death of 20 Indian Army soldiers. This is the first instance of casualties on the Line of Actual Control since 1975. It came amidst a “de-escalation” process in the Galwan area that was started last week, after a month-long standoff between troops at several points along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and Sikkim. Though some reports have said that around 40 Chinese soldiers died during these clashes, China has not responded to this.

The Air Force chief said the Army was in full control of the situation at Galwan Valley. “The Army has already given a statement to this effect,” he added. “At the same time, our Air Force is also ready to supplement the efforts of the Army by deploying additional battalions to meet the contingency, if required.”

Bhadauria added that the security scenario in the region mandates that India’s armed forces remain prepared and vigilant at all times, according to ANI. “The development at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh is a small snapshot of what we are required to handle at short notice,” the Air Force chief said. “In spite of unacceptable Chinese action after agreements reached during military talks and resulting loss of lives, all efforts are underway to ensure that the current situation at LAC is resolved peacefully.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an all-party meet that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured by outside forces during the face-off with Chinese troops. Hours later, Beijing claimed the entire Galwan Valley and accused India of “unilaterally” building roads, bridges and other facilities in the region.

Modi’s statement came two days after Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that Beijing had sought to erect a structure in Galwan Valley on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, leading to violence. Congress President Sonia Gandhi asked Modi if the violent face off was the result of an intelligence failure, adding that the Indian government must assure that status quo ante is restored in the region.

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