India Gives Armed Forces 'Full Freedom' as Ladakh Tension With China Stays Elevated

Indian Air Force chief says the armed forces are well prepared and deployed in Ladakh region to respond to any contingency.

In a significant announcement in the wake of the tensions with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government has given the armed forces full freedom to take any necessary action.

Following this, Indian Air Force chief R.K.S Bhadauria said the Indian armed forces were well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency, speaking at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy.

Addressing the all-party meeting, Modi said: "Our forces are fully capable of defending our borders." He also asserted that whether it is an issue of trade, connectivity or counter-terrorism, India has not submitted to any external pressure.

20 Indian soldiers killed in Galwan Valley standoff, toll may rise
20 Indian soldiers killed in Galwan Valley standoff, toll may rise IANS

"What is necessary for national security, whatever infrastructure is needed to be built on the borders, it will be done at the same rapid speed," he said. The Prime Minister also said that one benefit of the improved infrastructure is that is has become easier to reach the necessities to the soldiers living in harsh conditions on the border areas.

India Wants Peace

"India wants peace and friendship, but the issue of its sovereignty is supreme," he said, noting that all participants in the meeting had expressed the same sentiments.

"While on one hand, we have allowed the defence forces to take whatever steps they may deem fit, on the other hand, we have also conveyed our resolve to China through diplomatic means. It is definite that whatever happened on the LAC has shocked and enraged the entire nation," Modi said.

He said the security scenario in the region mandates that 'our armed forces remain prepared and vigilant all the time'.

China, India should handle disputes constructively: President Xi Jinping
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (File Photo) Reuters

IAF Chief Speaks

Bhadauria said that the developments at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh are a small snapshot of what 'we are required to handle at short notice'.

"In spite of unacceptable Chinese action after agreements reached after military talks and the resultant loss of lives, all efforts are underway to ensure that the current situation at LAC is resolved peacefully but it should be very clear that we are well prepared and suitably deployed to respond to any contingency," he said.

"I assure the nation that we are determined to deliver and will never let the sacrifice of braves of Galwan go in vain," the Air Chief Marshal added.

He paid tributes to Colonel Santosh Babu and his brave men who made supreme sacrifice while defending the LAC at the Galway Valley. "The gallant actions in highly challenging situation have demonstrated our resolve to protect the sovereignty of our country at any cost."

Addressing the flight cadets of various branches of IAF, Bhadauria said IAF was revolutionizing the way 'we train and build operational capability'.

"We will fight future wars in a networked and highly automated environment with employment of cutting-edge technologies and use of modern platforms, weapons systems and sensors most of which will be built indigenously," he said.

(Inputs from agencies)