AP

Indian army chief: China border situation is ‘unpredictable’

Jan 11, 2023, 2:02 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2023, 4:04 am

Indian Army chief Gen. Manoj Pande addresses a press conference ahead of Army Day in New Delhi, Thu...

Indian Army chief Gen. Manoj Pande addresses a press conference ahead of Army Day in New Delhi, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. Army Day is marked annually on Jan. 15. (AP Photo/Shonal Ganguly)

(AP Photo/Shonal Ganguly)

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s army chief said on Thursday the border situation with China is stable but unpredictable after a nearly two-and-a-half-year standoff between tens of thousands of soldiers from both countries in the eastern Ladakh area.

Gen. Manoj Pande told reporters the countries were continuing to talk both at the diplomatic and military levels, and that India’s military maintains a high level of preparedness.

“We have adequate forces. We have adequate reserves in each of our sectors to be able to effectively deal with any situation or contingency,” Pande said.

“I would say the situation is stable and under control, yet unpredictable,” he said.

Pande added that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has impacted the supply of spare parts for India’s military but did not provide more details. He also spoke about India’s reliance on equipment from these countries.

“The sustenance of these weapons systems — equipment in terms of spares, in term of ammunition — is one issue that we have addressed,” he said.

Experts say up to 60% of Indian defense equipment comes from Russia, and New Delhi finds itself in a bind amid the standoff with China over a territorial dispute. Twenty Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers died in a clash in 2020.

The Times of India newspaper reported on Thursday that India is having problems transporting back one of its diesel-run submarines after a major refit in Russia, which has been hit with sanctions over the Ukraine war.

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current face-off is happening.

India says any unilateral change in the border status quo by Beijing is unacceptable.

The Line of Actual Control separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a deadly war over the border in 1962.

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Indian army chief: China border situation is ‘unpredictable’