The recent events come close on the heels of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat comments about the `military options’ India has to resolve the stand-off with China.
India has not crossed the specified Line of Actual Control; this is the message that comes out clearly from those in the security establishment. Since the weekend, the situation in eastern Ladakh has been very sensitive and has been handled by the Indian Army troops intelligently. They managed to take over the whole of southern bank of Pangong Tso, just as the Chinese had taken over the northern banks.
“The Indian action is more defensive, as the purpose is to protect the area and resolve the tensions through talks. The Brigade level talks went on for the second day today (Sept 1) and there is no resolution to the incident that took place over the weekend. Both sides have sent in additional troops and machines in the region, as tensions build,” a source told Financial Express Online.
According to informed sources, no heights within the Indian perception of LAC have been taken over by the Chinese.
Chinese tanks were seen moving late Saturday night opposite the Chushul sector. This alerted the Indian Army to send in a specialized unit to capture the hilltops near the banks of Pangong Tso on the southern side. These hilltops are around about 10 km from the Chushul-Moldo meeting point. This particular area is claimed as their own by both India and China.
In response to the Chinese moving in their tanks, India too has moved their assets including artillery, tanks, and other heavy equipment in the nearby area Spanggur Gap. To deter the Chinese moving in more heavy armoured vehicles, the Indians have positioned Anti Tank Guided Missiles systems (ATGM) in important places.
What steps has India taken?
The steps taken by the Indian army are more defensive rather than offensive in nature. “We are on a summit of 4-5 hilltops as they are within our perception of LAC. And we are in a stronger position as sitting on those heights has helped us in our surveillance of the area and we can watch all the Chinese movement,” explained a source.
Indian side has been carrying out surveillance and recce of the area and troops are deployed in key areas.
What about Chinese claims?
It is all about perception. On the northern banks of Pangong Tso Lake, for India, the LAC is at Finger 8. And for the Chinese, it is at Finger 4, and they have changed the status quo by building their infrastructure and moving beyond Finger 4.
Sharp reaction from China
The recent events come close on the heels of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat comments about the `military options’ India has to resolve the stand-off with China. The Chinese side has reacted four times in 24 hours.
The Western Theatre Command of the PLA, which oversees borders with India, has issued a statement accusing the Indian Army of violating the consensus reached by both sides,
Incidentally, on Wednesday, Ji Rong, Spokesperson Chinese Embassy, New Delhi has accused India of illegally trespassing the LAC at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass in the western sector of China-India border. According to the spokesperson India has caused provocations and damaging peace and tranquillity along the China-India border areas. “What India has done runs counter to the efforts made by both sides for a period of time to ease and cool down the situation on the ground, and China is resolutely opposed to this,” he said.
Meanwhile at the UN
The G4 countries — India, Germany, Japan and Brazil while reiterating their backing for Africa at the high table has slammed China and called out the countries who have been literally going slow on the UNSC reforms.
Though no direct mention of China is made in a joint letter by G4 members, it has stated “after more than a decade towards text-based negotiations, the inter-government negotiations process has become a convenient smokescreen to hide behind for those who do not wish to see any reforms in the security council.”
The letter was sent by India’s deputy permanent representative to UN, Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu to President of the United Nations General assembly (UNGA) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. Along with other UNSC members, China has been stonewalling talks for the expansion of the UN body.