PAC to visit Ladakh region amidst stand off with China
New Delhi, Oct 13: A Parliamentary panel will visit the Ladakh sector to get first hand insights into the aspects related to high altitude clothing for soldiers at a time when India and China are locked in a standoff.
The members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by Congress MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury are expected to visit Leh on October 28-29. It may be recalled that Chowdhary wrote to the Lok Sabha speaker, Om Birla suggesting that the PAC visit the Ladakh sector to interact with soldiers deployed there and also understand their working conditions.
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General that had pointed out deficiencies in high altitude clothing and equipment is currently being examined by the PAC. It may be recalled that the PAC had interacted with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat on September 6 and deliberated on these issues. Following this a letter was written to Birla. The PAC would meet next week and finalise the itinerary.
During the visit, the PAC would be briefed by senior army officials. The visit comes at a time when both armies have made preparation for a long haul in the eastern Ladakh theatre.
On Monday the Corps commander-level talks began at around 12 noon in Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and continued beyond 8:30 pm.
As the border standoff entered the sixth month, an early resolution to the row appeared dim with close to 100,000 Indian and Chinese troops remaining deployed in the high-altitude region and showing readiness for a long-haul.
The Indian delegation was led by Lt Gen Harinder Singh, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, and includes Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA). It is learnt an official of the Chinese foreign ministry is also part of the Chinese delegation.
The China Study Group (CSG) comprising Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs on Friday finalised India's strategy for the military talks. The CSG is India's key policy making body on China.
Both sides continue to maintain over 50,000 soldiers and are backed by tanks, armoured surface to air missile systems and howitzers. This despite the winter steadily setting in.