A fortnight after camping at Raki Nallah near Daulat Beg Oldi in Ladakh reigon of Jammu and Kashmir, China has escalated the face-to-face stand-off with India by erecting a fifth tent 19 km inside Indian territory, apart from deploying three vehicles to transport personnel and supplies.
This blatant provocation by the 30-odd Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troopers comes a day ahead of India’s top military commanders from the Army, Navy and Air Force meeting in the national capital on Tuesday when they will discuss the situation in the Daulat Beg Oldi, sources said here on Monday.
According to status report that reached the Defence Ministry on Monday, at a mid-point around 500 metres away from both the Chinese and Indian tents, an eyeball-to-eyeball stand-off has ensued, with both sides posting 20 personnel each there. The two sides are carrying their personal weapons at present.
The ITBP’s base at Burtse is about 15 km away and India is sending regular supplies to its troopers staying the eight Artic tents. A ninth tent was added after China had increased their tent number to five during the weekend.
The Chinese border defence force’s base is about 25 km away from the spot where they have pitched tents and for carrying out supplies and troopers transport the PLA men were using a light vehicle, a 6X6 medium vehicle of two- to five-tonne capacity and a 8X8 heavy vehicle of over 5-tonne capacity.
“However, no aggressive moves have been made by either side at the stand-off point,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the Indian commanders - 23 in all including the chiefs and vice chiefs of the three services - will debate the issue.
They will also fine-tune the five options that the Indian Army had presented to the China Study Group (CSG) earlier this month on how to resolve the diplomatic-cum-military row with China. Their discussion is likely to be shared with the CSG, in which the Indian Army vice-chief is a member along with Defence, Home and External Affairs secretaries.
The commanders will also analyse the current security scenario around the nation, particularly issues concerning terrorism emanating from the neighbourhood, piracy affecting the Indian Ocean region, and the developments in Afghanistan in the backdrop of a drawdown planned by western militaries from the war-torn nation in 2014. They will also discuss the internal security situation, particularly the insurgencies in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeastern states, and the Maoist menace.
Defence Minister A K Antony is expected to discuss these security issues with the commanders.