Army intends to strengthen its position against China along the LAC in central sector

India and China have been involved in a prolonged military standoff along the LAC in Ladakh for almost four years

The Indian Army is working on improving its position against China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the central sector. This area spans 545 km across Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Officials, who wanted to remain anonymous, revealed that this strategy would involve changing an administrative headquarters in Bareilly into a corps headquarters with combat capabilities.

The Uttar Bharat (UB) Area is expected to become a corps headquarters responsible for protecting the central sector. This area is currently considered the least disputed section of the India-China border, with the only contention being at Barahoti in Uttarakhand.

The newly created 18 Corps will likely be based in Dehradun. Previously, the UB Area was mainly an administrative headquarters and was not structured for combat roles. However, the deployment of additional troops and the restructuring of UB Area into a corps HQ will help improve operational efficiency in managing an increasingly disputed LAC.

India and China have been involved in a prolonged military standoff along the LAC in Ladakh for almost four years. The army is now shifting its focus to the central sector, as a complete resolution of the border crisis through ongoing negotiations seems uncertain.

Over the past seven to eight years, UB Area, which is under the jurisdiction of the Central Command based in Lucknow, has gradually been militarized to boost the army’s operational readiness. With its conversion into a corps headquarters, all combat formations of the command would be under the new corps commander.

The 3,488-km LAC is divided into three sectors: western (Ladakh), central, and eastern (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh). The western sector is the most susceptible to confrontations, followed by the eastern sector. While eastern Ladakh has been the epicenter of the current border tensions with China, the Indian Army maintains a high level of readiness across the entire LAC. Confrontations have been reported in the east following the eruption of the Ladakh border dispute.

Senior military commanders from India and China held the 20th round of talks to alleviate tensions in eastern Ladakh on October 9-10, 2023. They agreed to sustain the military dialogue and uphold peace, but no immediate breakthrough was achieved.

Despite four rounds of disengagement from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Gogra (PP-17A), and Hot Springs (PP-15), both the Indian and Chinese armies continue to have thousands of troops and advanced weaponry deployed in the Ladakh region.

In January, Army Chief General Manoj Pande described the situation along the LAC in the Ladakh sector as “stable, yet sensitive.” He stated that the army’s operational readiness was high, and its deployments were “robust and balanced.” He added that discussions at the military and diplomatic levels were ongoing to resolve the outstanding issues along the LAC.

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Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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