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Armed forces ‘given free hand’ to respond to situation at LAC

Fighting fit:An ITBP jawan performing yoga at Khardung La in Ladakh on the International Yoga Day on Sunday.PTI

Fighting fit:An ITBP jawan performing yoga at Khardung La in Ladakh on the International Yoga Day on Sunday.PTI  

Rajnath Singh holds meeting with Chief of Defence Staff and three Service Chiefs

The armed forces are said to have been given a free hand to assess the situation on the ground along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and take appropriate action as required in case of any escalation from the other side, a defence official said on Sunday. This was conveyed during a meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with the Chief of Defence Staff and the three Service Chiefs.

“The situation along the LAC and preparedness of the armed forces was reviewed at the meeting. Forces have a free hand to assess the situation and to take action as required. While we don’t want escalation but if it happens by the other side, appropriate action will be taken. Clear cut instructions to this effect were given,” the official, who wished not to be named, said.

Mr. Singh held the meeting ahead of his scheduled departure to Russia on Monday for participation in the 75th anniversary of the Second World War. The prevailing border situation is expected to come up for discussion at Mr. Singh’s meetings in Moscow. The Minister will return on June 25.

He will continue to closely monitor the situation during the trip, the official added.

As reported earlier, following the Galwan incident, it was learnt that the Army revised its Rules of Engagement (RoE) for its ground commanders on the LAC. Use of firearms on the LAC is strictly regulated as per the border agreements of 1993, 1996 and 2005.

Forces on full alert

The armed forces have gone on full alert along the LAC following the clash. The IAF has forward deployed its front-line fighters, including Su-30MKIs and Mig-29UPG, and its latest acquisition the AH-64E Apache heavy attack helicopter, meant to neutralise armoured formations, has been deployed in Leh. The CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters, too, have been deployed in this region. China has deployed artillery, armoured vehicles and tanks close to the LAC on its side.

It has been learnt that the Army, too, has moved additional divisions from Bareilly and other areas forward for acclimatisation. After the stand-offs began on May 5, the Army had moved additional units for acclimatisation to prepare for high-altitude operations, which are now ready. The Navy has also stepped up its operational alert and is closely monitoring movements in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

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