NEW DELHI: Confirming the incident of Chinese civilians' protest in Demchok Sector in Line of Actual Control (LAC) during Dalai Lama's Birthday on July 6, the Army Chief said that they could have not come without the People's Liberation Army soldiers. He also clarified that there was no intrusion.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said, “They could not have come without the PLA accompanying them. Civilians cannot be allowed to reach the Line of Actual Control without keeping surveillance on them."
Replying to the question of intrusion from the Chinese side, the army chief clarified, "Chinese come and patrol to their perceived Line of Actual Control. We try and prevent them. But at times there are celebrations that take place at the local levels. Celebrations were going on our side by our Tibetans in the Demchok sector. Based on that, some Chinese also came to see what was happening. But there has been no intrusions. Everything is normal," the Army chief said.
Rawat also said, “There are perceptions of LAC, they have their own perception and we have our own. We patrol up to the borders as per our perception."
"We have a very good working relationship with the PLA," reaffirmed the Army Chief.
The issue came into light as Chinese personnel in civil dress protested along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, last week after some Tibetans hoisted Tibetan flags on the occasion of Dalai Lama’s 84th birthday.
There were 11 people who came in their SUVs up to Koyul grassland in Demchok sector, located close to the LAC, on July 6 and lodged a protest over hoisting of the Tibetan flags.
South Block sources said the 11 PLA personnel, who were in “civilian clothes”, did not cross the LAC but showed banners with a message written in Mandarin that read, “Ban all activities to split Tibet”.
They stayed there for about 40 minutes.
There have been regular reports of Chinese PLA transgressing into areas of Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
It was in 2017 that there was a protracted 73 days standoff in the Doklam sector which was later resolved amicably.
After a couple of hours, the Chinese troops returned to their side following an assurance by Indian Army officials that they would look into the action by the refugees.
There have been also reports of Chinese soldiers stopping the shepherds from grazing their sheeps in Demchok sector.
(With PTI inputs)