Army Chief Leads Commanders' Meet Amid Tension Over India-China Face-Off

The Army Commanders' Conference will discuss issues pertaining to the security of India's borders, including recent Chinese aggression in Ladakh

Army Chief Leads Commanders' Meet Amid Tension Over India-China Face-Off

Army Commanders Conference being presided over by Army Chief General MM Naravane

New Delhi:

A two-day meeting of senior Army commanders, presided by Army Chief General MM Naravane, is underway at Ministry of Defence offices in Delhi. The Army Commanders' Conference will discuss issues pertaining to the security of India's borders, including recent Chinese aggression in Ladakh.

The conference comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to discuss the stand-off with China. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat were among those at that meeting.

The conference also comes as the Army increases troop deployment at different locations along the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh sector, to match the 5,000 soldiers deployed by China.

On Tuesday, satellite images showed construction at the Ngari Gunsa Airport in Tibet, which is around 200 km from Pangong Lake - the site of skirmishes between Chinese and Indian troops earlier this month.

Two images, taken a month apart, show the addition of what appears to be a second taxi-track, or a secondary tarmac, to position helicopters or combat aircraft. The last image was dated May 20.

A third image shows a close-up of the main tarmac with a line-up of four fighter jets; these are believed to be either J-11 or J-16 fighters of the Chinese Air Force.

Earlier this month Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in hand-to-hand fighting at a high-altitude picket after transgression into Indian territory. Around that time, Chinese troops were spotted in motor boats on Pangong Lake and in helicopters over disputed regions in Ladakh.

The Indian Air Force dispatched jets but refused to confirm if they had been vectored in the direction of the choppers.

However, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, the Chief of Air Staff, later told NDTV: "(Chinese) helicopter activity has seen a spurt".

Yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the military to scale up battle preparedness, visualising worst-case scenarios, and asked his troops to resolutely defend the country's sovereignty.

The face-off between began after China reportedly expressed displeasure about India building a road in the Galwan area, the site of a flashpoint during the 1962 war.

"The road was constructed to help local population," a senior officer had told NDTV.

An apex level bi-annual event to help decide policy decisions relating to the armed forces and national security, the conference had been scheduled for April but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It will now be held in two phases, with the first running from May 27 to May 29 and the second in the last week of June.

During the first phase, aspects pertaining to operational and administrative issues, including studies pertaining to logistics and human resources will also be discussed.