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HomeNewsForces standing up to ‘bully’: Defence secretary on China

Forces standing up to ‘bully’: Defence secretary on China

NEW DELHI:

Defence

secretary Giridhar

Aramane

on Wednesday described Beijing as a “bully” against whom Indian forces were standing firm all along the frontier, following China’s rebuff once again of India’s push to defuse the two major continuing troop face-offs at Depsang and Demchok in eastern Ladakh in the latest round of military talks.
Aramane, speaking at the second INDUS-X defence summit with US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral John C Aquilino here, also thanked Washington for helping “very quickly” with “intelligence and situational awareness which US equipment and the US government could help us with” after the military confrontation with China erupted in eastern Ladakh in May 2020.

“It was of great use to us,” he said.
Latest assessments show the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to forward deploy 50,000 to 60,000 troops with heavy weaponry in the western (Ladakh) and central sectors (Uttarakhand, Himachal) of the 3,488km long Line of Actual Control as well as 90,000 soldiers in the eastern one (Sikkim, Arunachal), sources told TOI.
India, too, matches them with “mirror military deployments”, which found reflection in Aramane’s remarks.

China declines India request for troop disengagement
“India is giving a face-off to our neighbour (China) in almost all the fronts we have with them. Wherever there is a mountain pass, we are stationed there to face any eventuality. Wherever there is a road, we have to be ready there also. So, we are standing against a bully in a very determined fashion,” he said.
“And we expect our friend US will be there with us in case we need their support. It is a must for us and we have to do it together. We greatly appreciate the support and the resolve from our friends in supporting us during such an event. The strong resolve that we will support each other in the face of a common threat is going to be of critical importance to us,” he added.

Aramane’s unusually strong remarks came after there was yet again “no breakthrough” in resolving the almost four-year-old military confrontation in eastern Ladakh, which has led to heightened tensions and intermittent skirmishes all along the LAC, during the 21st round of corps commander-level dialogue at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on Feb 19.
“In the military talks being held after a gap of over four months, China did not agree to India’s demand for troop disengagement at Depsang Plains and the Charding Ninglung Nallah (CNN) track junction at Demchok as a pre-condition to de-escalation,” an official said.
A brief MEA statement said “complete disengagement in the remaining areas” along the LAC in eastern Ladakh is “an essential basis for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas”.
The two countries however agreed – like in previous rounds – to “maintain communication on the way ahead through the relevant military and diplomatic mechanisms” and “maintain peace and tranquillity on the ground in the interim” during the talks led by 14 Corps commander Lt-General

Rashim Bali

and the South Xinjiang Military District chief.
In the backdrop of China’s aggressive and expansionist behaviour in the entire Indo-Pacific, whether it be the South and East China Seas or the land borders with India, Aramane at the defence summit said India and the US were collaborating at different levels in the region.
“Today, we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the history of the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific, with its vast expanse of oceans and strategic waterways, stands as the crossroads of global commerce, geopolitics and security,” he said.
“In navigating the complex dynamics of this region, India and the US find themselves as key stakeholders, bound by shared values and common interests,” he added.
Underlining the bilateral strategic convergence, Aramane said India was increasingly turning to the US for cutting-edge defence equipment and technology. “The US, in turn, sees India as a key partner in its Indo-Pacific strategy, leveraging India’s growing defence capabilities,” he said.

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