PLA’s bid to dislodge India from peaks foiled
Chinese troops marched to Indian post with rods, spears, clubs; fired shots, a first in 45 years
The tense situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has further aggravated with India thwarting yet another aggressive move by the Chinese in Eastern Ladakh.
The Chinese troops also fired warning shots in the air but the Indian Army maintained calm. China, however, claimed it was the Indians who used firearms after breaching the border. This is the first time in more than 45 years that shots were fired on the LAC.
This provocative act by the Chinese on Monday took place in the southern region of the Pangong Tso (lake) in Eastern Ladakh. The PLA soldiers tried to dislodge the Indian Army troops now positioned on the strategically-important hill tops in the area. When they were warned, the Chinese fired a few shots in the air. However, there were no physical clashes or skirmishes, sources said here on Tuesday.
Given the gravity of the issue, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reviewed the ground situation. The meeting came as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar left for Moscow to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the LAC stand-off. The two leaders will meet on the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers’ conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO). The much-awaited bilateral meet between the two Ministers is likely to take place on Wednesday, it was learnt.
The latest episode of provocation by the Chinese troops came just four days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese Wei Fenghe held a marathon bilateral meeting in Moscow during the SCO meet.
As regards the events on the LAC on Monday evening, sources said the latest Chinese foray came in the area now dominated by the Indian Army since August 29-30 when it foiled an attempt by the opposing force to unilaterally change the LAC.
Since then, the Indian Army is now deployed on key hills, including Black Top besides Rezang La and Rechin La. Mountain passes are known as La in the Tibetan language. The latest attempt to remove the Indian soldiers was in the area between these two mountain passes at Mukhpari, sources said.
When more than 100 Chinese soldiers armed with spears, long knives and automatic weapons tried to come close to the Indian position at a height of more than 15,000 feet about 6.30 pm in a provocative action, they were warned. In turn, they fired, sources said. Nearly 5,000 Indian troopers are now positioned there along with tanks and heavy guns to foil any counter-move by the Chinese.
In an official statement on Tuesday, the Army said, “In the instant case September 7, 2020, it was the PLA troops who were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops. However, despite the grave provocation, own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner.”
The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility, however, is also determined to protect national integrity and sovereignty at all costs.
The statement by the Western Theatre Command is an attempt to mislead their domestic and international audience, the statement said.
The Army issued the statement after the Chinese Government late on Monday night claimed that India violated the LAC and fired shots.
The Army statement also said while India is committed to disengagement and de-escalating the situation on the LAC, China continues to undertake provocative activities to escalate. At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing. It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress, the statement said.
This categorical rebuttal came after the PLA alleged that the Indian troops crossed the LAC and “outrageously fired” warning shots near the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh.
Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, a spokesperson of PLA’s Western Theater Command, in a statement claimed the Indian troops again illegally crossed the LAC and “outrageously fired” warning shots on Chinese border patrol soldiers who were about to negotiate.
Chinese troops were forced to take countermeasures to stabilise the situation, he said without elaborating. The Indian troops crossed the LAC at the west section of the China-India border into the Shenpao mountain region near the south bank of Pangong lake, he alleged.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said India’s behaviour violated agreements. “It is a serious military provocation. We’ve made representations through diplomatic and military channels asking them to immediately stop dangerous moves, withdraw people who crossed the line and discipline frontline troops,” it said.
Separately, the Ministry of External Affairs here termed as false reports in Chinese media attributing some comments to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. “We have seen reports in Chinese state media, including in China Daily and Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times), which had attributed some comments to NSA Ajit Doval. These reports are completely false and are not based on facts. We urge the media to refrain from such speculative reporting,” it said in a release.
Wednesday, 09 September 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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