(TibetanReview.net, Oct25’23) – India’s Defence Minister Mr Rajnath Singh has on Oct 24 visited forward posts near the Tibet-border in Arunachal Pradesh to assess the operational preparedness of the armed forces in the eastern sector amid the ongoing military standoff with China in Ladakh in the country’s west.
The visit took place as India and China continue talks to resolve outstanding issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Singh spend Dussehra, one of India’s most important religious festivals, with the troops deployed there, and participated in the “shastra pooja” (worship of weapons) near the war memorial in Tawang, which is the birthplace of Tibet’s sixth Dalai Lama.
The gesture sends a strong message to the neighbouring country, which routinely objects to Indian leaders visiting the border state. Beijing did not immediately react to Singh’s Arunachal Pradesh visit, noted the hindustantimes.com Oct 25.
Singh, who began his two-day visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on Oct 23, was accompanied by Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande, Eastern Army commander Lieutenant General RP Kalita, GOC 4 Corps Lieutenant General Manish Erry, and other senior officers.
“People have realised that we are not only growing as an economic power, but the same trajectory is seen in our defence capabilities as well,” Singh has said while addressing the troops.
The Defence Minister appreciated the efforts of the soldiers in securing the borders of the country in sub-minus temperatures at an altitude of 15,000 feet above sea level, noted pratidintime.com Oct 24.
Like Ladakh in the west, the eastern sector is also prone to face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops.
A clash between them most recently in Dec 2022 in Tawang’s Yangtse area put the spotlight on the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. Back then, Indian soldiers prevented Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops from transgressing into Indian territory and compelled them to return to their posts, the report noted.
In April, the Chinese foreign ministry objected to India’s home minister Amit Shah’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, claiming it violated Beijing’s territorial sovereignty and was “not conducive to peace and tranquillity” along the border.
Beijing recently took to calling Arunachal Pradesh “Zangnan” or “South Tibet” and gave its own names to a number of places in it on the basis of its illegal annexation of Tibet in 1951.