Border tensions continue to simmer between India and China in the Ladakh sector with reports of China having mobilized around 5,000 soldiers on its side of the Line of Actual Control. China is reported to be setting up temporary infrastructure in that area.
With troops from both sides engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation at several points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, there are concerns that this could evolve into a Doklam-like stand-off. Troops from both countries had engaged in a standoff in 2017 at the Doklam tri-junction for 73-days.
With China increasing its troops’ presence in the sector, India, too, has ramped up its numbers in the Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley areas.
The presence of Chinese troops at areas along the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley is being closely watched by the Indian side.
There are reports that China has erected around 100 tents in the Galwan valley area and had brought in heavy equipment to construct bunkers.
India, sources said, was increasing its patrolling in the areas where Chinese have started increasing its troop presence.
It all started with soldiers from both sides engaging in a face-off on May 5 in Pangong Tso area. This skirmish spilled over to the next day and could only be ended after a meeting of local commanders from both sides.
Within days, on May 9, troops from both sides had a skirmish in North Sikkim.
Following both the incidents, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) categorically sid that “any suggestion that Indian troops had undertaken activity across the Line of Actual Control in the western sector or the Sikkim sector is not accurate”.
“Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas and abide by it scrupulously. All Indian activities are entirely on the Indian side of the LAC. In fact, it is the Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said.
The MEA also added that “Indian side has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management” and that “at the same time, we are deeply committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and security”.
The MEA has also maintained that Indian troops strictly follow the procedures laid down in various bilateral agreements and protocols to resolve any situations which may arise due to difference in perception of the LAC.