Amidst the fear of tensions escalating between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a senior officer has clarified that there has been no loss of ground this time around. What has actually happened is that there is a large a chunk of territory on their side of LAC to which Indian troops have not had access “more than 10 to 15 years” now, Indian Express reported. The officer has also stated that there has been no troops mobilization by Pakistan side, barring the regular ceasefire violations from that side along the Line of Control (LOC) or the Siachen area — located 80 km west of the Depsang Plains.
What has happened is that the Pakistan side has been keeping a big number of Indian troops engaged on the Western front. And this has forced the Indian army to increase its presence in Ladakh by pulling out troops from other commands.
As has been reported by Financial Express Online, the Indian Army is in a state of operational readiness as the Chinese troops can attempt to ingress from any other location along the LAC.
The PLA troops have been aggressively trying to ingress from different points along the LAC. “The Chinese are always pushing and provoking the Indian troops and have been blocked access to four patrolling points since April this year.
“It is not only the location in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army is looking at the Eastern Command too,” explained a senior officer.
Story so far –
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that though after several rounds of diplomatic as well as military-level talks, during the disengagement, the Chinese troops pulled out from Patrolling Point-14 in Galwan to its side of the LAC. However, there is still a small number of PLA troops who are sitting on the Indian side of the LAC at PP-15 located in Hot Springs, and PP-17A in the nearby Gogra Post.
And, the Chinese troops have never left the Finger 4 ridgeline on the Pangong Tso’s north bank, and are less than 500 metres away from Indian troops where the ridge meets Finger 3.
The Chinese side has positioned two brigades and in the process has cut off India’s access to PP10-13, which is India’s traditional patrolling points in the Depsang Plains area.
Importance of Depsang Plains
This is located 30 km southeast of the strategically important Daulat Beg Oldie post near the Karakoram Pass in the north.
Right in the middle of the mountainous terrain, there is a flat surface which can be used by either side to launch a military offensive, which is similar to the Spanggur Gap in the Chushul sub-sector.
In this area, the Line of Patrolling is located beyond India’s perception of the LAC, and this is the area where India has not been able to reach in the last decade and a half and is almost around 972 sq km.
“The Indian troops are being stopped by the Chinese from patrolling in these areas. And, India has not lost anything in this round of encounters with the Chinese,” explained the official.
So where exactly is the LAC
It is `quite inside’ from the International Boundary, and the limit of patrolling is even further inside from the LAC, in Depsang Plains. And the bulk of 972 sq km has been with the PLA for a long time.
Since April/May this year the Chinese side started blocking the Indian troops at the Bottleneck – and this is the access to PPs 10-13. And this is the same location where the Chinese troops were positioned in 2013 standoff.
What action has the Indian Army taken?
The blocking of the Indian troops by the Chinese has been going on for a long time. Indian Army does not want to create another flashpoint right now.
The access which has been blocked since April 2020, is around 10 km vertical and 4- 5 km horizontal between those patrolling points.
Enough troops have been positioned to handle any misadventure or aggression from the Chinese side.
Any re-enforcement at the world’s highest base?
No, there has been no –enforcement on the Siachen positions, as there has been no mobilization from Pakistan side, barring the regular ceasefire violations and infiltrations.
Indian Army is tied down dealing with counter-terrorism and counter-infiltration – means India is facing two fronts.