India and China have been working on "mutual disengagement" and there have been positive developments, but the "threat" is very much high, Army chief General MM Naravane told reporters today. The 14th round of commander-level talks between the two neighbours were also held today.
"The 14th round of the Corps Commander level talks is underway, and I am hopeful that you shall see further developments in the days ahead. But while there has been partial disengagement, the threat has by no means reduced," General Naravane told reporters on the occasion of Army Day.
Disengagement has to happen from friction areas, then we can think of deescalation, the Army chief said.
The Army chief said India's response to Chinese attempt to unilaterally change status quo along the Line of Actual Control, or LAC, was "very robust".
On a question about China building a village in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Subansiri district, which NDTV reported for the first time, General Naravane said, "The MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) has amply clarified our position. This is arising because the LAC is not demarcated and there are different perceptions. As long as the boundary issue is concerned, for once and for all, the border issue has to be resolved. As far as we are concerned, we are very well poised all along our borders and there is no question that any status quo as it exists today will be altered by force."
General Naravane said the Army has reorganised and rebalanced forces to meet the threat from both China and Pakistan. "In line with our operational realities, we have undertaken reorganisation and rebalancing of forces. Reorientation of additional forces to the northern borders has been carried out, while retaining our punitive strike capability, along the western front," he said.
Pressed on the readiness of the troops, the Army chief said "we will come out victorious if a conflict is forced upon us".
Along the northern borders, Indian Army continue to maintain the highest levels of operational preparedness while engaging in sustained dialogue with China's People's Liberation Army, or PLA, the Army Chief said, adding that after persistent joint efforts, mutual disengagement has taken place at many locations.
"...Force levels in areas where disengagement is yet to take place have been adequately enhanced. Threat assessment and internal deliberations have resulted in reorganisation and realignment of forces in keeping with the Army's mandate of ensuring territorial integrity, and to cater for the major augmentation of PLA forces and military infrastructure. We will continue to deal with the PLA in a firm, resolute and peaceful manner, while ensuring the sanctity of our claims. Necessary safeguards are in place," the Army chief said.