New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a stern warning to China and its People's Liberation Army (PLA), newly appointed Army chief General Manoj Pande on Sunday said the Indian Army will not permit any loss of territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh as he stressed that his troops are "holding important physical positions".

In an exclusive interview with news agency ANI, General Pande said the situation at the LAC is normal, but any "unilateral and provocative" actions by China would be met with an "adequate response".

"The process of talks between India and China is ongoing. We believe this is the way forward. We are confident that as we continue to talk with the other side we will find a resolution to the ongoing issues," General Pande said.

"In terms of our preparedness levels, we have inducted additional equipment and troops in those areas, as well as infrastructure. Our focus has also been on infrastructure development to match logistic and operation requirements," he said, adding that India wants to restore the status quo at the earliest.

Tensions escalated between India and China in April 2020 along the LAC. The situation worsened further after the Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel-rank officer, were killed.

The two sides have held several military and diplomatic talks till now to defuse tensions. Both sides have withdrawn their troops from some of the forward locations, but the process of de-escalation still needs to be completed at some places.

'Number of terrorists operating has increased'

For Pakistan, Army chief General Pande said Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) from both sides arrived at an understanding a year ago, allowing New Delhi and Islamabad to improve the situation for the civilian population along the Line of Control (LoC).

However, General Pande said the number of terrorists operating has increased despite a reduction in infiltration and violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

"What's significant is that due to success of our counter-infiltration grid, from the other side (Pakistan), there's an exploitation of narco terror nexus, in that you see cases of smuggling of contraband items and weapons which is happening across the border in both Jammu and Kashmir and further south," he told ANI.

Just like China, tensions between India and Pakistan reached an all-time high in 2019 after the deadly Pulwama attack and the Balakot air strike. Pakistan repeatedly has tried to internationalise the issue, but India has said Islamabad has no locus standi over Jammu and Kashmir.

'Need to rely on indigenous weapon systems, equipment'

Army chief General Pande said the Russia-Ukraine conflict has shown that conventional wars are still relevant and will continue to stay. Speaking about what can learn from the conflict, he said the country needs to focus on its "capability development to fight a conventional war".

Pushing for self-reliance (atmanirbhar) and Make in India initiatives, General Pande told ANI that the country also needs to rely on its indigenous weapon systems and equipment and develop that capacity.

"Lastly, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has bought to the fore, the importance of non-kinetic means of warfare, such as information and cyber warfare. We need to build our capabilities as we prepare ourselves for future conflict," he said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma