Indian Army Chief General M M Naravane has said Indian forces would have to be prepared to deal with a "two-front" threat scenario as there was "increasing cooperation" between China and Pakistan in both military and non-military sectors.
Addressing an annual press conference in New Delhi, General Naravane said Pakistan and China formed a "potent threat", and the "threat of collusion" could not be wished away.
There is increased cooperation between China and Pakistan in both military and non-military sectors. The two-front threat is something that we should be prepared to deal with, he said.
On the Ladakh standoff with China, General Naravane said India has maintained high-alert level along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). "We are ready to meet any eventuality; our operational preparedness is of very high order," he said.
General Naravane said he hoped an agreement for disengagement and de-escalation would be reached with China. "We will hold on to our positions in eastern Ladakh and hope for a solution based on mutual and equal security," he said.
His statement comes in the backdrop of the Chinese Army moving back around 10,000 troops from the depth areas near the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh but the deployment in the frontline areas has remained the same.
Nearly 50,000 troops of the Indian Army are deployed in various locations in eastern Ladakh as multiple rounds of military and diplomatic talks between the two sides have not yielded any concrete outcome to resolve the military face-off. China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to Indian officials.
General Naravane said there was no reduction in deployment of troops by both India and China in eastern Ladakh.
The Chief of Army Staff said Indian troops are maintaining high level of alertness all along the nearly 3,500-km Line of Actual Control and not just Ladakh.
India returns Chinese soldier who crossed disputed border
A Chinese soldier seized by India's military in the remote Ladakh region, where the two countries are locked in a border standoff, was handed back to China on Monday, the Indian army said.
India took the soldier into custody last Friday, when China said one of its soldiers had gone missing "due to darkness and complicated terrain" along the disputed high-altitude border.
The soldier was returned to China at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point, the Indian military said in a statement. He was the second Chinese soldier to be detained by India since tensions escalated last year along the disputed border.
China, India military talks
China and India are in consultations to hold the ninth round of Corps Commander-level meetings to discuss the disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh, the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman, Sr. Colonel Tan Kefei, was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India on December 31, 2020.
Since the eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks between the armies of China and India, the two sides have maintained consultations on disengagement of frontline troops and strengthened management of border troops, Tan told an online media briefing.
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