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Russia sanctions may not dent Army preparedness on LAC 

File photo for representation.

File photo for representation. | Photo Credit: PTI

As the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is set to hold its annual summer exercises in Tibet, the armed forces are keeping a close tab to ensure China does not resort to any misadventure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), especially as the global attention is on Ukraine.

Defence officials also say the Army’s preparedness is unlikely to be impacted due to sanctions on Russia.

While the Air Force may have some impact, given its large Russian inventory, which is being assessed, the Army, mainly the infantry along with its support elements, have least exposure to Russia, one official noted..

The armed forces have also made significant emergency procurements in the last two years since the standoff in eastern Ladakh and have stocked up on spares and ammunition. So, there shouldn’t be any immediate urgency for spares and other requirements, several officials noted.

For the Army, its armoured corps is almost entirely Russian origin but the Infantry has the AK-47 rifles and not much beyond that and similarly the artillery is also quite diversified, officials noted.

The Defence Ministry is assessing the impact the western sanctions on Russia can have on timely supply of spares and support as well as execution of deals in the pipeline, officials said.

This also includes looking at the various payment options that would be available in the backdrop of several restrictions imposed by the West on Russia.

For the $5.43–billion S–400 deal, signed in October 2018 and deliveries of which are under way, India and Russia had worked out payments through rupee-rouble arrangement as reported by The Hindu earlier.

“There is no unusual activity on the Chinese side since the Russian attacks on Ukraine. However, in March-April the PLA mobilises a large number of troops for the annual exercises in Tibet. So, we are keeping a close watch,” a senior official said.

“There cannot be a repeat of 2020 and we are more than prepared and cautious this year, especially in case they attempt anything in the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine,” a senior official said. “We will keep a close watch.”

To questions on the ongoing standoff, Army Chief Gen. Manoj Naravane had acknowledged in the past that every summer, the PLA troops come to Tibet for training in the grounds which are 500-1,500 km from the LAC but in April 2020 moved towards the LAC and transgressed at several locations resulting in the standoff since early May 2020.

While partial disengagement has been undertaken and 14 rounds of Corps Commander talks held since then, the standoff is yet to be fully resolved. Friction points remain at Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang Plains. Both sides are working out the dates for the next round of talks, another official said.

Since the standoff began, the Army has significantly augmented its surveillance capabilities along the LAC in addition to strengthening its positions by reorienting troops from the Western front and deploying new military hardware.


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Printable version | May 22, 2022 3:36:12 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/armys-preparedness-along-lac-unlikely-to-be-impacted-due-to-sanctions-on-russia/article65198378.ece