Before Indian troops occupied strategic heights in the Kailash range in eastern Ladakh in August last year to turn the tables on the Chinese, one of the options considered by the Army brass was a build-up, and a counter-thrust if need be, in the Eastern Sector to “relieve pressure in the area of Ladakh”.
The Kailash range operation, which put the Chinese at a disadvantage for the first time since the start of the standoff along the Line of Actual Control in May last year, led to the disengagement of troops and armoured columns on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso and the Kailash range this February.
A top source, who was involved in military decision-making, told The Indian Express: “We were trying to keep this entire conflict situation localised to the Ladakh sector. It was not in our interest to escalate it and take it to other sectors also. Because we had to see what our capabilities are, what the connectivity issues are, what force levels are available. That was our thinking.”
Yet “we wanted to be ready in other sectors also, so that we are able to dissuade them”. For this, in the Middle Sector “where we were weak, we pushed in more troops,” the source said. The Sino-Indian boundary has three sectors – Western (Ladakh), Middle and Eastern.
According to the source, the Eastern Command was told “you take measures first to augment your defensive capability, and then be ready to go launch (an offensive) to relieve pressure in the…