Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Monday said that the Indian armed forces will operate in a synergised manner and will “leave no stone unturned” to safeguard the country amid the continuing tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, ANI reported.

Rawat was speaking at the launch of a guided missile stealth frigate in Kolkata. “China’s attempt to change the status quo on Line of Actual Control along the northern border amidst the coronavirus pandemic necessitates high-level preparation on land, sea and air,” he said. “I am fully confident that Indian armed forces will leave no stone unturned to safeguard our frontiers be it at land, air or ocean. I wish to assure you that we are fully prepared for any eventuality that we may be faced with.”

Since the border standoff began in early May, India and China have had eight rounds of Corps Commander-level talks. The discussions, however, have hit a stalemate after some initial disengagement. Both sides have made preparations to maintain thousands of troops and equipment in sub-zero conditions.

The chief of defence staff said every country will continue to work on its security based on their respective strategic interests. “We are in a standoff situation in Ladakh and based on that there is some development activity which has been ongoing in Tibet Autonomous Region of China,” he added.

Rawat also spoke about the task of integrating the three forces in India, NDTV reported. He said there have been “hiccups” in the integration of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, but the creases were being ironed out. “We have to have understanding of each other’s services,” he said. “Now, as integration is taking place and we are gradually moving forward in that direction, I think that we have been able to overcome some of the issues that were at stake.”

Border standoff

The tensions along the Line of Actual Control started with initial scuffles that led to a pitched battle – without firearms – in June that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed. Beijing, however, refused to release casualty numbers on its side. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time in 45 years.

On December 11, India had blamed China for the ongoing border standoff between the two countries, claiming that it tried to effect a “unilateral change” in the eastern Ladakh region. This came two days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the ties between the neighbours are passing through their most difficult phase, claiming that Beijing has offered “five differing explanations” for violating agreements on maintaining peace.

Meanwhile, on December 8, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the country was working with India for “further de-escalation” in Ladakh.