NEW DELHI: In a significant initiative, the Indian Army consolidated its tactical positions around Finger 4 on Sunday while they thwarted Chinese attempts to position themselves in new locations on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake.
“To consolidate tactical positions, India has picked up ridges which are at heights around the Finger 4 as militarily things would not have been tenable if the situation turned hot,” a senior officer explained.
The Indian Army has its administrative camp on the foothills of the Finger.
Explaining the significance of the initiative, the officer said, “Heights are important in mountains for movement and reactions. The Chinese till now had an upper hand as they sat on the high ridges. Now we are around them at places where they were not there.”
However, the Army sought to deny reports of Indian troops occupying heights at Finger 4, saying what happened on the ground were ‘readjustments’.
“As part of the precautionary deployment carried out on 30 August 2020, some readjustments of our positions on north bank of Pangong Tso Lake on our side of LAC had also been carried out,” it said.
Chinese troops entered up to Finger 4 and had not agreed to move back to their previous position of Finger 8. The mountain spurs jutting towards the lake are termed as the fingers in military parlance.
The Army not only thwarted Chinese attempts but also consolidated Indian military deployments on the higher features overlooking the important Spanggur Gap and also on Rechin La.
On Monday, Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand had said, “Indian troops pre-empted PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwarted Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground.”
India had blocked Chinese attempts to occupy heights and positioned its soldiers at Rechin La, which is about 2.5-3 km from Rezang La along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the Indian side.
On Tuesday, China accused India of crossing the LAC, which was promptly rebutted.
Since then, three Brigade Commander-level flag meetings have taken place but without any consensus on resolving the new tension.
In the military movement of Sunday, a personnel of the Special Frontier Force (SFF) lost his life in a mine blast close to the area of operations.
The SFF comprises personnel of Tibetan origin. In Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out China, saying it is engaged in a “clear and intensive intensifying pattern of bullying” its neighbours from Taiwan to the Himalayas.
He hoped for a peaceful resolution of the Lac situation.