The Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh remains tense with three stand-offs including one in Galwan valley. Local Army commanders from India and China have held at least three rounds of talks in the last one week, but to no avail. Against this backdrop, Army Chief General MM Naravane visited Leh on Friday to take stock of the situation. Efforts are also on to resolve the issue through diplomatic means.
Unconfirmed sources claimed the Indian patrol was accosted and beaten up by the Chinese Army in Ladakh 10 days ago.
His visit came at a time when the Indian side has bolstered its troop strength at all the face-off points after the Chinese did so, sources said here on Saturday.
Naravane’s trip to Leh took place a day after New Delhi rejected Beijing’s claim that the Indian Army was responsible for escalating tension at the LAC in Sikkim and Ladakh.
Rebutting this, India said it was the other way round and the Chinese were proving a hindrance in the Indian Army’s patrolling in Ladakh.
The latest face-offs are now on in Galwan valley where the Chinese have pitched 90 to 100 tents and have increased its troop strength to nearly 500. They charge the Indians with building a road close to the LAC thereby violating treaties. However, India maintains that the road is well within its territory and the Chinese are escalating tension by undertaking construction activities like barracks. Moreover, they have deployed more vehicles besides maintaining aerial vigil through helicopters. The stand-off at this point is spread over three to four kms and located at a height of more than 4,000 feet.
The other two stand-offs are in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector of Ladakh where the Chinese have moved forward towards the LAC with more than 300 to 400 soldiers each on the two locations. There too, the Chinese are objecting to construction activities undertaken by India to improve its infrastructure including roads and airfields to ensure logistical lines throughout the area.
Incidentally, the Galwan valley has seen such situations in the past too and the two armies fought a battle in the 1962 war here. Given the strategic importance of the Galwan valley and nullah, the Indian Army too has strengthened its positions, sources said.
The LAC has become “hot” in terms of transgressions in the last two weeks or so with at least two face-offs in Naku La in Sikkim and Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh turning violent with personnel from both sides indulging in fisticuffs. Some officers and soldiers of two armies were also injured in the fracas. While the situation on both these two locations has now somewhat normalised, three new flashpoints have now emerged in eastern Ladakh. Sources also said the Indian Army has not let its guard down in Sikkim and Ladakh.
Sunday, 24 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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