India has issued measures to strengthen its defensive capabilities, particularly in eastern Ladakh, ahead of another round of top-level military talks with China regarding tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), according to The Times of India.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed its aircraft fleet, including the formidable Rafales, the Su-30 MKI, MiG-29s, and Jaguar jets, in forward positions, along with more than 68,000 military personnel. The aircraft is set on high alert for immediate action and is conducting surveillance and intelligence gathering at about 50 kilometers around the Ladakh region.
Additionally, the IAF bolstered its air defense by installing radars and surface-to-air weapons at frontline bases. A source familiar with the Indian military told The Times of India that the troops should be “more than enough” and the security measures are necessary due to “adversary’s duplicitous behavior in the past”.
The LAC divides India and China into three sections: Western (covering India’s Ladakh and China’s Tibet/Xinjiang), Middle (encompassing Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in India and Tibet in China), and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh in India, referred to as “South Tibet” by China). The most significant disputes and militarization efforts are concentrated in the western and eastern sections.
It is believed that China currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC.
For more than three years, the two sides have been involved in a boundary dispute. On June 15, 2020, the Indian and Chinese armies clashed in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, leading to 20 Indian and four Chinese casualties. The conflict stemmed from tensions at the LAC with both nations accusing the other of encroachments.
Multiple diplomatic meetings took place following the clash, but a stalemate persisted. A significant disengagement effort began in February 2021 after prolonged talks.
The 19th round of talks seeking to disengage troops from remaining standoff points in Ladakh is scheduled to start on August 14, 2023.