When army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane spoke about the continuing trust deficit with People’s Liberation Army after the East Ladakh stand-off, he was reflecting the ground situation along the 3,488 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China undertaking significant military infra upgrade in the Eastern sector.
Even in the western sector, apart from the on-going Pangong Tso disengagement, there is no sign of reducing tension in the Gogra-Hot Springs area with PLA troops and weaponry amassed at Mabdo La across the LAC. It is the same situation in the Depsang bulge area and across the Daulet Beg Oldi sector even as the military commanders on both sides work towards a roadmap to restore status quo ante on East Ladakh LAC.
However, the concern of the national security planners is the rapid infrastructure upgrades that the PLA is undertaking across Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. There is evidence to show increased troop and equipment sheds and better road communication across Naku La in north Sikkim. The PLA simultaneously transgressed into the Naku La sector in May 2020 with both armies engaging in fisticuffs.
The PLA created Naku La as a friction point around six years ago with the intention to convey that while Beijing recognises Sikkim as part of Indian territory, the border still is unresolved.