Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday arrived in Leh to review operational preparedness on the Line of Actual Control amid the recent border tensions with China. “I shall be visiting the forward areas to review the situation at the borders and also interact with the Armed Forces personnel deployed in the region,” he tweeted.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane are accompanying Singh on the visit, according to the Hindustan Times. After Leh, the defence minister will head to Jammu and Kashmir during his two-day long trip.
Singh is scheduled to visit the Lukung post near Pangong lake, where troops of India and China are in the process of disengagement, according to NDTV. Lukung is a combined post, where the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police are stationed. “The minister will address the troops here,” an unidentified official told the channel.
Upon his arrival, the defence minister first visited Stakna forward areas where the troops showed him paradropping skills of the armed forces, ANI reported. This is his first visit to the areas after the June 15 clashes, which resulted in 20 deaths on the Indian side and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side.
India on Thursday said there was no change in its position on the disputed Line of Actual Control and that the disengagement on the border to resolve tensions with China was an “ongoing process”. Anurag Srivastava, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said that mutual redeployment along the border should not be misrepresented.
The Indian Army had said Thursday that the disengagement process was “intricate and requires constant verification”. Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand added that the two sides were taking forward the disengagement process through frequent military and diplomatic meetings.
The disengagement between both India and China began after a telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 5 that lasted nearly two hours. On July 6, both the countries had pulled back troops from the site of June 15 clashes at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
Reports said that Chinese frontline troops have fully moved out of the Patrolling Point 15 of the Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh as part of the disengagement process to reduce tensions. The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a standoff in multiple locations along the LAC for the last eight weeks.