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Chief Naravane: Army Chief Naravane and Foreign secretary Shringla put off Myanmar trip amid LAC crisis

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(This story originally appeared in on Sep 02, 2020)

NEW DELHI: India said on Tuesday that it has taken up the recent provocative and aggressive actions by Chinese soldiers and urged Beijing to “discipline and control” frontline troops even as the latest escalation over the weekend saw foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and Army chief Gen M M Naravane put off a visit to Myanmar that was to begin on Wednesday.

The MEA said the Chinese side violated the understanding arrived at at the level of special representatives to de-escalate tension not only on Saturday night but also on Sunday even as the ground commanders of both armies were in discussion to de-escalate the situation.

Recalling that the SRs (national security adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi) had agreed that the situation should be handled in a responsible manner and neither side should take any provocative action or escalate matters, the MEA said Chinese troops violated the understanding and engaged in provocative military manoeuvres.

The government appears to be veering around to the view that China doesn’t really want to resolve the issue and may be pushing in a concerted way to move the LAC westwards, making dialogue and negotiation doubly difficult. What makes the latest confrontation more significant is the involvement of the Tibetan exiles’ Special Frontier Force (SFF), who are credited with securing a crucial ridge in the Spanggur Gap-Chushul area and repulsing a Chinese threat, even reportedly inflicting damage on the Chinese side.

Claude Arpi, a well-known China analyst, said, “This would probably be the biggest action by SFF against the Chinese. This will have an effect in Tibet as well as in Beijing.”

This comes a couple of days after the Chinese leadership held a massive meeting on Tibet. Lt Gen Subroto Saha (retired) told TOI, “The provocative movement by PLA troops on the night of August 29 appears to be a premeditated plan to execute Xi Jinping’s orders to his party, government and military leaders to solidify border defences in Tibet and ensure frontier security in the Tibet region.”

He added that Xi’s focus appears to be to increase China’s grip in the region and that “India must be prepared to proactively deal with China in all the theatres bordering Tibet, as PLA has mobilised troops for exercises all along, including opposite Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh”.

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