Representative image (Reuters)
NEW DELHI: India is trying to resolve the ongoing troop confrontation with China in some stretches along the unresolved border in eastern Ladakh as well as Sikkim, which has become the most serious since the major Doklam face-off in 2017, through both military and diplomatic channels.
Sources on Wednesday said “flag meetings” and “military hotline talks” are being held at multiple-levels with the field commanders of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to de-escalate the heightened tensions and rival troop build-ups along the line of actual control (LAC).
“There have been a couple of brigadier-level talks at the Chushul-Moldo and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO)-Tien Wien Dien (TWD) border personnel meeting (BPM) points in eastern Ladakh. Another meeting took place on Tuesday and Wednesday but there does not seem to be any breakthrough as yet. Indian troops continue to maintain their forward posture, with major additional reinforcements from other areas,” said a source.
China has taken deep umbrage at India building border infrastructure in terms of roads, defences and advanced landing grounds along the western and eastern sectors of the 3,488-km long LAC in recent times.
India’s completion of the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road last year, which provides access to the Depsang area and Galwan Valley while ending near the Karakoram Pass, in particular, has riled the PLA. “But all our activities, including a couple of new roads, are taking place within our own territory, away from China’s claim lines,” he added.
Both India and China pumped in additional troops, built fortifications and pitched tents at a few stretches along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, which include the northern bank of Pangong Tso (Tso means lake), Demchok and Galwan Valley areas, after the tensions brewing since mid-April led to violent clashes on May 5-6, as was earlier reported by TOI.
The PLA, for instance, has pitched around 80 to 100 tents near the Galwan river after virtually blocking India’s ongoing construction of a small road in the area, which was a flashpoint even during the 1962 war, while also deploying several vehicles and construction equipment in the Demchok region.
China has also increased the number of its armed motorised boats for patrolling in the 134-km long picturesque Pangong Tso, two-thirds of which is controlled by China as it extends from Tibet to India at an altitude of almost 14,000-feet. India has responded by also deploying additional “quick-reaction team (QRT) boats in the lake and troops on its northern bank.
While the Indian establishment has so far maintained a studied silence on the bilateral border tensions, China has attacked India through both its foreign affairs ministry and state-controlled media for aggressive patrolling behaviour and “unilateral attempts” to change the status-quo along the LAC.