Ladakh: At least ten thousand soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are on Indian territory, reported Business Standard.
Eventually, hundreds of Indian soldiers stood face-to-face with as many Chinese for over two months before New Delhi and Beijing negotiated a mutual withdrawal that saved face for the Chinese.
Today, it is the Indians who have been taken by surprise. In the third week of April, Indian border forces in Ladakh observed regular Chinese forces on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de factor border – being supplemented with additional troops, heavy trucks and equipment. The Indian side mistakenly assessed this was just routine summer training, reported the newspaper.
There was shock on May 5, when some 5,000 Chinese troops crossed into the Galwan River valley, followed by another incursion in similar numbers into the Pangong Lake sector on May 12. Simultaneously, there were smaller incursions near Demchok, in Southern Ladakh and in Naku La in North Sikkim, it reported.
Currently, there are close to 10,000 soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Indian territory. Dialogue is frozen, with the Chinese rebuffing Indian calls for flag meetings to resolve the situation, Business Standard quoted sources as saying.
The most worrying situation is in the Galwan valley, where the PLA has crossed China’s own claim line (which Beijing had stated was the border with India), and breached 3-4 kilometres into Indian territory. PLA troops are digging defences to equip themselves to face any Indian attack.
A China defence website with close links to the PLA has claimed that the entire Galwan River valley is a part of China.
Stating that: “The Indian side crossed the line in the Galwan valley… and unilaterally change the status of the border, the website claimed: “ The Galwan valley is a Chinese territory, and the local control situation is very clear.”
This follows a previous pattern. China had systematically eroded Galwan’s status starting 1956, followed by an official claim in 1960 and then by military action during the 1962 war.