To counter expansionist China's habit of creeping forward by making small incremental moves, the Indian Army has planned mountaineering expeditions and research studies at high-altitude areas in the northern borders of the country.
The Army is also coming up with a skiing expedition -- ARMEX-21 -- covering the distance from the Karakoram Pass to Lipulekh Pass. It will cover areas of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal and Kumaon sectors. The skiing expedition will also be carried out at the high-altitude areas in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Army, civilians and foreign persons will also take part in various upcoming skiing expeditions," said a senior Indian Army officer. Those taking part in the skiing expedition will negotiate forbidding mountain ridges, glaciers and multiple passes ranging from a height of 14,000 feet to 19,000 feet.
The Army planned the skiing expedition after India and China agreed for disengagement at the disputed Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh. India and China are engaged in a 10-month-long standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lake, both in the waters and on the banks as Chinese incursions increased in early May last year.
About the 'salami-slicing' tactics of China, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had on 24 February had stated that China has the habit of creeping forward by making very small incremental moves to achieve its objective but this strategy will not work with India.
General Naravane, while speaking in a webinar organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation, said, "China is in the habit of creeping forward by making very small incremental changes wherein each change by itself is not very big or worthy of a very strong reaction. Because of the very small incremental moves, which were never contested, China has been able to achieve its aims without firing a shot or sans any loss of life."
China's expansionist strategy
General Naravane has also cited China's expansionist strategy in the South China Sea and asserted that India will not allow this to happen.
Referring to India's resolve in Ladakh, he said, "I think more than anything else, what we have achieved is to show that this strategy will not work with us and every move will be met resolutely." Despite the initial disengagement, the Army Chief has sounded a warning while dealing with China citing trust deficit.
"In whatever we are doing, we also keep in mind that we have to be wary. We will be very cautious and I mentioned in my talk also that there is a trust deficit. Unless that trust deficit is removed, we will of course continue to be very wary and watch whatever movement happens on either side of the LAC. But I think at the end of day, we have achieved a lot," the Indian Army chief said.