The seventh round of Corps Commander-level meet on the LAC standoff is expected next week and will be Lt Gen Harinder Singh’s last.
On October 14, Lt Gen PGK Menon takes over the sensitive Fire & Fury Corps that is responsible for operations in Ladakh. Lt Gen Menon is currently posted as of the Additional Director of the Complaint Advisor Board at the Army Headquarters.
On September 21, when the sixth Corps Commander meeting took place, he was a surprise addition to team India. Lt Gen Menon will also be part of the seventh Corps Commander-level meet next week to ensure that the change of guard in mid-October does not impact the military level talks, sources said.
Six months and six rounds of Corps Commander meets later, one thing is crystal clear. The Chinese are not going anywhere. Their foreign ministry has hardened its position by asserting that their 1959 claim is the LAC. For the last 61 years, India has rejected this claim and has shot it down again.
Lt Gen PGK Menon takes over the Fire & Fury Corps at a time when relations between India and China are at their lowest since 1962. From Depsang Plains and Pangong Tso to Gogra Hotsprings and Galwan valley, China has ingressed at multiple points in Eastern Ladakh. It now occupies 1,000 sq km of Indian territory in Ladakh and says it does not recognise the ‘illegally’ created UT of Ladakh.
Lt Gen Menon was commissioned into the 17th battalion of the Sikh Regiment and is currently the Colonel Commandant of the Sikh Regiment. In the past, he has served in Ladakh as a Brigadier. His one -year tenure in Leh will be focused on preventing any further ingress by the PLA and ensuring that the bitter winter in Ladakh does not become the biggest adversary for the 50,000 troops deployed in Eastern Ladakh.
Lt Gen Harinder Singh meanwhile moves from his high-stress assignment in Ladakh to the quiet and serene environs of the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun as it’s Commandant.