Published On: Wed, Dec 14th, 2022

China has been trying to alter status quo along LAC for many years: Gen (Retd) Naravane

New Delhi: China has been resorting to the “salami slicing” tactic along the Line of Actual Control to gain territory in a gradual manner and this has led to a “more assertive” response from the Indian Army, former Army chief Gen MM Naravane has said and noted that attempts to change status quo along the LAC have been thwarted.

We also patrol upto our perception line, they come up to their perception line

In `Podcast with Smita Prakash`, Gen Naravane said the Chinese army has been trying to alter the status quo along LAC in very “small incremental steps”. His remarks came days after the attempts by People`s Liberation Army (PLA) troops to transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh with the Indian Army thwarting the attempt to change the status quo. “China has been trying to alter the status quo along the LAC for many years, decades in fact, and they have been doing this in very small incremental steps which by themselves do not look very dangerous. They look quite innocuous. What we call salami slicing, coming up one inch at a time. But in the bargain over a period of time they have gained a lot. This is the tactics they have adopted and were continuing to do,” Gen Naravane said.

“There was a time to say this much and no further. So that is what actually happened as they kept trying to probe especially north of the Panong Tso (lake in Ladakh). They come time and again and then they want to make it a historical fact that we have been coming here. They tried to alter the status quo as it is existing,” he added.

With China and India having a differing perception of LAC in certain areas, Gen Naravane said in the two sides patrol upto their perception line but there have been attempts by China to impede this in some areas “We also patrol upto our perception line, they come up to their perception line. But while this is happening, if the patrols come face to face at the same time, then obviously there is a chance of a clash happening,” General Naravane said.

Asked about the Galwan clash in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in May 2020, General Naravane, who was then the Army Chief, said that the Chinese Army was not “allowing” the Indian Army to patrol to the usual point and triggered a more assertive response from the Indian side.

“It`s not that they came and they were not leaving, they were continuously patrolling up to where they thought they should be coming, but they were not allowing us to go where we ought to go. Therefore, we had to be more assertive and push them back. And that is where the clashes occurred and whether it is the North bank of Pangong Tso or in PP 15 where those unfortunate casualties took place,” he said.

General Narawane, who was the Army Chief from December 31, 2019 to April 30, 2022, said the Chinese Army had established two outposts to stop the Indian Army from patrolling to the usual point PP 15, which was “objected vehemently”.

“As I said, we have always been patrolling upto PP 15, but they were trying to stop us from going to our traditional patrolling point and that was totally unacceptable to us. To stop us from coming, they had established small outposts, you can say, two tents. We objected very vehemently to that but they were adamant that they would not go back. Therefore, we had to be more assertive. That is when they also came with additional strength and entire clash happened in our side of PP 15. As a result, we were able to make sure that they go back,” he said.

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