Date :10-Aug-2021

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LARGER focus on building operational capabilities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the form of infrastructure and advance landing grounds (ALGs) marks the major shift India has made to its China policy post the eastern Ladakh stand-off. Both the Indian and Chinese troops are now in the process of disengagement from friction points, the latest being Gogra, but the covert plane on which China’s PLA operates has made it necessary for India to stay in a permanent alert mode, especially in eastern Ladakh. India has taken some quick steps in addressing the situation with the revival of Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) strip and now by developing airfields at Fukche and Nyoma, which are at a distance of a few minutes from the LAC with China. The ALGs will serve as points of strategic importance in case of a contingency as they bridge the critical gap between Leh airfield and the LAC to enable quick movement of force and equipment, overcoming the difficult terrains. The ALGs are absolutely necessary despite China’s misplaced and arrogant objections at the diplomatic level, for, the Indian Air Force has the most critical role to play if the Chinese troops yet again resort to the old strategy of intrusion.
POISED for a victory in the first Test against England, the Indians were robbed of a deserving 1-0 lead by the Rain Gods as they had an unwanted stay on the last day of the Test match. Though the draw has helped England salvage some honour, all the positives were reserved for India. After the reverse in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) against New Zealand, the Indian team came out with a palpable energy and strategy in all departments. India had been found wanting on all these counts in the WTC final. Despite a difficult call on choice of the only spinner for the first Test, captain Virat Kohli did well to go in with four pacers and the time-tested batting line-up. Kohli has called this team ‘the template’ for next games. It is a huge departure from what he had to offer on the team composition after the WTC final loss. The captain had questioned intent of a few batters who, he thought, did not show total commitment. It was a wrong argument, not befitting a captain of Kohli’s stature. The ‘right template’ observation was, perhaps, an attempt to make-up for that one slip. Keeping faith in one’s men is the biggest show of intent for a leader, Mr. Captain!