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Army commanders to discuss on Dokalam face-off, India's security challenges

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Top commanders of Indian Army will deliberate extensively on the Dokalam standoff and security challenges along the borders with China and Pakistan at a six-day conference beginning October 9.

The commanders will also carry out a review of the evolving security architecture in the region and ways to bolster the Army's operational preparedness to effectively deal with any possible challenge, official sources said.

They said the top commanders are also likely to analyse the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir with a focus on bolstering counter-terror operations.

The sources said there will be in-depth discussions on the 73-day face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Dokalam and the current situation in the nearly 4,000-km-long border with China.

The standoff began on June 16 after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army on June 16 in Dokalam. On August 28, India's External Affairs Ministry announced that both sides have decided on "expeditious disengagement" of their border troops from the disputed area.

Days after the face-off ended, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said China has started "flexing its muscles" and warned that the situation in India's northern border could snowball into a larger conflict.

The sources said the top commanders are also likely to discuss the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The conference will be addressed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Army Commanders' Conference is an important event in the planning and execution of various key decisions relating to the country's security and strategic interests.

There will be subject-specific deliberations during the last three days of the conference which is also likely to discuss implementation of the modernisation process in the Army.

The conference is also expected to discuss implementation of the ambitious reform process in the Army which was unveiled on August 30.

The Government had announced that major reforms will be carried out in the Army to enhance its combat capability which will include redeployment of nearly 57,000 officers and other ranks as well as ensuring better utilisation of resources.

The reform initiatives were recommended by a committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd) which had a mandate to recommend measures for enhancing of combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure of the armed forces.

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