In a surprise development amid the border face-off between India and China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has carried out an unanticipated tour to Ladakh region, on Friday, which has been an epicenter for the recent border dispute that witnessed a violent skirmish and face-off last month between the Indian and the Chinese troops which killed twenty Indian soldiers.
Prime Minister Modi's visit to the disputed region has become the first high profile visit from both sides since the border standoff emerged in May. The Prime Minister has landed in Ladakh on Friday morning and visited a forward position in the Nimu sector which is located at 11,000 feet above from the sea level. The visit has become crucial as the two nuclear-armed neighbors have been deploying troops to the region near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Naravane and they arrived at the Nimu sector to review and took stock of the ongoing situation in the LAC. The Prime Minister and the Chiefs had interacted with Army, Air Force, and the personnel of ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police).
According to the reports, the Prime Minister has been scheduled to meet the soldiers who were injured in the skirmishes and the leadership of the local military including Lt.General Harinder Singh. Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was scheduled to visit Ladakh on Friday.
However, his visit was canceled on Thursday and the Prime Minister himself took a surprise move and visited the border dispute region and the troops stationed in Ladakh and his surprise tour signaled that India has strongly been watching its neighbor closely over the border face-off and to strengthen India's presence at the region to counter any such skirmish ignited by the Chinese forces.
The Prime Minister's visit has come at a crucial time when the two countries have neither come to amicable consensus nor shown a clear sign of disengagement along the LAC, which has been keeping the tensions alive between the troops. Through his Friday's visit, Chief of Army Naravane has marked his third visit to the region since May.
According to the reports, Lt.General Harinder Singh has met with his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday and held talks to defuse the tensions and disengage the stand-off at the border. However, the discussions between the generals went inconclusive which shown that the dispute could be lowered by the talks held through the military and diplomatic channels.
While commenting on Modi's visit to Ladakh, Zhao Lijian, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said "India & China are in communication and negotiations on lowering the temperatures through military & diplomatic channels. No party should engage in any action that may escalate the situation at this point".
Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing soldiers in Ladakh pic.twitter.com/pLSpPsz45e— ANI (@ANI) July 3, 2020
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Ladakh will surely boost the morale of our valorous soldiers. According to the ANI News Agency, the Prime Minister has addressed the Indian soldiers in Nimu, Ladakh during which he said: "The bravery that you and your compatriots showed, a message has gone to the world about India’s strength. I once again pay my tributes to the brave soldiers martyred in #GalwanValley" Last month, the border skirmish between the troops had killed 20 Indian soldiers and China has also suffered casualties, but Beijing hasn't issued any confirmation on the casualties.