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Will stand ground in Ladakh for as long as it takes: Army Chief

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The Indian Army is ready to stand its ground in eastern Ladakh for as long as it takes to resolve the stand-off with China, Army Chief General MM Naravane said Tuesday. Addressing his annual press conference, Naravane acknowledged a “collusive threat” from Pakistan and China that is “manifesting itself” on the ground but added that the Indian forces are prepared to handle any eventuality.

The Army Chief sidestepped questions about how much land India had lost access to since the stand-off began in early May and stated that the situation is the same as it was last year.

Speaking ahead of the Army Day on January 15, Naravane also said any talks with China will be conducted on the principle of equal security.

“As far as the areas in eastern Ladakh are concerned, the situation is the same as was prevailing last year, there has been no change in the status quo,” he said. “We are hoping that based on the principle of mutual and equal security we will be able to reach an agreement, which would result in disengagement and de-escalation. Disengagement from the friction areas, and once this disengagement has been achieved, then an overall de-escalation and reduction in the strength of the troops in the forward areas.”

He said that the “talks are an ongoing process” and added that “we will ensure that through the medium of these talks, we reach a solution that is acceptable and not detrimental to our interests”.

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