Fresh Chinese incursion in Ladakh area
India on Wednesday put on high alert all its troops along the 650-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China following unsuccessful military talks regarding Chinese incursion into Daulat Beg Oldi (DBP) in Jammu and Kashmir, even as reports emerged that the country’s military helicopters had violated Indian airspace in Chumar, southeast of Leh.
Indian Army battalions in the Ladakh region, which is under the control of the Leh-based 14 Corps, were asked to be on “standby” after 30-odd Chinese troopers pitched a tent and set up an observation post 10 km inside Indian territory along the Line of Control about 30 km south of DBO on April 15, Indian military sources said here.
Reacting to the sudden appearance of the Chinese tent, India too pitched its tent and deployed around 50 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Army’s Ladakh Scouts regiment personnel to keep a watch on the Chinese troopers. However, two rounds of flag meetings between Brigadier-level officers in DBO failed to get the Chinese troops to dismantle their tent and return to their side of the LAC.
According to military sources, the Chinese had, in both the meetings — the latest, which was held for six hours on Tuesday — insisted that their troops were within their perceived LAC and that Indian soldiers had transgressed into their territory and set up bunkers.
The Chinese side, military sources said, wanted India to dismantle its bunkers and climb down on its “aggressive patrolling”. India, on its part, insisted that China maintain the pre-April 15 status quo in the sector to de-escalate tension.
China’s foreign office spokesperson Hua Chunying had in Beijing termed reports of Chinese incursion as “Indian speculation”, while External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India had asked China to maintain status quo. Besides, two Chinese military helicopters had been spotted violating Indian air space in the Chumar sector, about 300 km southeast of Leh, on April 21. The choppers reportedly air-dropped Made-in-China materials like Mandarin newspapers, cigarette packs and other such telltale signs, which are normally used to assert territorial claims. Chumar is an access point to the more than 37,000-sq km Aksai Chin area of Ladakh that is under illegal Chinese occupation since they built a road between Xinjiang and western Tibet in the 1950s.
The two Asian giants fought a war in 1962 over territorial disputes, when India was defeated by Chinese troops.
Indian officers said it was Standard Operating Procedure for battalions to be on an ‘alert and ready to move in’ mode if confrontation ensued when troopers stand in eyeball-to-eyeball contact with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers along the 4,057-km LAC in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.