India’s Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat has said that the military option is on the table if talks between New Delhi and Beijing to deescalate the tension along the border fail, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a violent clash in Ladakh on June 15, in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unidentified number of their Chinese counterparts died.
“Transgressions along the LAC [Line of Actual Control] occur due to differing perceptions about its alignment,” Rawat told the newspaper. “Defence services are tasked to monitor and carry out surveillance and prevent such transgressions turning into intrusions…Defence services always remain prepared for military actions should all efforts to restore status quo along the LAC do not succeed.”
Rawat said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and others are reviewing “all options” to ensure that the People’s Liberation Army restores the status quo ante in Ladakh. On Saturday, Singh met Doval and the heads of the Army, Navy and Indian Air Force to discuss the standoff along the Line of Actual Control. Rawat refused to comment on the meeting or provide any operational details.
Rawat denied that there was lack of coordination among the various intelligence agencies in India. He said that while India was still working towards acquiring round-the-clock capabilities to monitor the border, there is regular coordination among all agencies responsible for collection and collation of information. The top multi-agency centre has been meeting on a daily basis and keeping everyone informed of the ground situation in Ladakh.
India’s China Study Group, which comprises the government’s senior most ministers and officials, has been meeting regularly to review the situation in Ladakh, Rawat said. He added that the security agencies were constantly updating information collected through human and technical intelligence about the Chinese Army.
The chief of defence staff said regular meetings are underway to take care of India’s infrastructure projects along border areas. Over the last three or four years, the pace of these projects has increased, he said. “The impetus by the way of prioritisation has helped in development of strategic connectivity for the future,” Rawat asserted.