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'Can't Fight in Mountains, Needs More Training': Bipin Rawat's Observation on Chinese Army After Ladakh Faceoff

File photo of Bipin Rawat

File photo of Bipin Rawat

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that the Chinese soldiers are mainly enlisted for a short duration and don't have much experience of fighting in the mountain terrain of the Himalayas.

The Chinese Army has realised that it needs better training and preparation, said Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat. The CDS added that the realisation came after the faceoff with Indian forces last year in Galwan Valley and other locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

A report in ANI quoted Rawat as saying that the Chinese soldiers are mainly enlisted for a short duration and don’t have much experience of fighting in the mountain terrain of the Himalayas.

“Chinese deployment on border with India has undergone a change, especially after incidents that happened in Galwan and other areas in May and June 2020. Thereafter, they realized that they need to be better trained and better prepared," Gen Rawat said when asked about the fresh activity of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along LAC.

On June 15, 2020, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops “surprised" India in the Ladakh sector of LAC (line of actual control) where the Indian Army lost 20 lives, including that of Colonel Santosh Babu in the Galwan valley.

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The Chinese Army also lost their soldiers, though they never stated the exact numbers. The figures, given our informally, varied from 5-14, even as China has publicly accepted only four deaths. India’s estimate on Chinese fatalities said that PLA lost between 25 and 40 personnel, including at least one officer.

“Their soldiers mainly come from the civilian street. They are enlisted for a short duration. They don’t have much experience of fighting in these kinds of areas and operating in this kind of terrain," Rawat further explained.

The report quoted the CDS as saying that India had to keep a watch on all activities of China in the region and Indian soldiers are very adept in fighting in the region. “The Tibet Autonomous Region is a difficult country. It is a mountainous region. You need specialized training for this, in which our soldiers are very adept because we have a lot of mountain warfare training. We operate in mountains and continuously maintain our presence," he said.

“Whereas for the Chinese, it’s not so. It is part of that training that they are carrying out. We have to keep our guard and keep a watch on all activities of the Chinese forces. In doing so, we have to maintain presence along LAC," he added.

Asked if the northern front has become as important as the western front in view of the increased deployment of forces, the CDS said both fronts remain a priority for the country. “We have maintained a kind of posture that our troops deployed at northern borders are capable of functioning at western border and vice versa. Yes, we have committed some additional troops on the northern border as we find they are becoming more active and are a primary threat to us," he said.

Earlier in an interview with CNN-News18, Rawat said, “The Indian armed forces have been given the task to ensure that the sanctity of our borders are maintained and no part of our territory is lost without a fight. The Service Chiefs and I have said that we need to be prepared, and any misadventure from our adversaries will be dealt with firmly."

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