Commander of the Northern Army visits Galwan on his inaugural visit to Ladakh

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The newly appointed commander of the Northern Army, Lt. Gen. Upendra Dwivedi, visited several outposts in eastern Ladakh on Tuesday, including the Galwan Valley and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) near the Karakoram Pass, in his first visit to the region since he took office earlier this month.

Dwivedi is on a five-day visit to Ladakh to review the situation on the ground.

The Northern Army Command tweeted Tuesday that Dwivedi “visited ground zero in forward areas” throughout the Royal Control Line (LAC), “to review the security situation” in eastern Ladakh, which is led by the XIV Corps, also known as the Army’s Fire and Fury Corps.

“He interacted with all ranks of all security forces and appreciated the professionalism and operational response to the evolving threat matrix (sic),” the tweet read.

It also posted photos of Dwivedi’s visit to the Indian side of the territory in the Galwan Valley, the site of bloody clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in June 2020, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian and at least 4 Chinese soldiers. Other photos showed him at the strategically sensitive Daulat Beg Oldie base, which lies north of the Depsang Plains, which also remains a bone of contention between the two neighboring countries.

Galwan has become a hotbed of propaganda in recent times, with China releasing images of its troops unfurling its national flag in the valley on New Year’s Day. India also posted similar photos a day later, featuring the tricolor and the Dogra Regiment. Both flags were also visible in photos tweeted Tuesday.

During his visit that began on February 19, Dwivedi ALSO conducted an infrastructure audit. Accompanied by XIV Corps commander Lt. Gen. Anindya Sengupta, Dwivedi also visited the Leh Air Force Station.

The visit, the first since he took office, comes even as talks to find a solution to the more than 22-month standoff with China in the region, which began in May 2020, are stalled.

The last (14th) round of corps commander-level talks took place on January 13, days after Sengupta took over as XIV Corps commander.

A platoon-sized force of soldiers from both sides is on the Indian side of the LAC at Patrol Point 15 in Hot Springs. In Depsang Plains, Chinese soldiers are blocking Indian troops in an area called Bottleneck, preventing them from accessing PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13. In the Demchok area, some so-called civilians have pitched tents on the Indian side of LAC and refused to vacate.

Both sides still have more than 50,000 troops in the larger eastern region of Ladakh, along with additional tanks, artillery and air defense.

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