Leh: Even as the ongoing military confrontation between India and China continues on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, both sides have engaged in a dialogue process in order to defuse the volatile situation.
However, no breakthrough has been possible due to repeated breaches of trust by the Chinese.
According to sources, the latest breach of trust by the Chinese took place on August 28 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China used deception to try and capture dominant heights in the Pangong Tso sector.
This had led to clashes during the intervening night of August 29-30 when elite commandos of the Special Frontier Force (SFF) occupied strategically important peaks along the LAC. Since then, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has made several failed attempts to recapture those positions.
A senior officer told News24 that the PLA had contacted the Indian Army on August 28 through the local hotline at Chushul, and both sides talked about refraining from any action which may escalate the already tense situation and to avoid night patrolling.
But later during the same night, the PLA had moved in over 1,000 soldiers to capture Indian territory on the southern banks of the Pangong Tso, but the attempt was foiled by alert soldiers of the Indian Army.
Now the Indian army is anticipating an offensive by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the area south of the Pangong Tso, which may worsen the ongoing military confrontation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
Sources said that the Indian Army has inputs about possible Chinese PLA action in the area anytime and have taken measures to counter it.
The Indian Army has managed to deploy tanks in the Finger 4 area and the southern banks of the Pangong Tso lake. These areas have been put under the cover of tanks in order to ward off any offensive by the desperate PLA.
The PLA was checkmated by the elite Special Frontier Force (SFF) during the intervening night of August 29-30 when the commando unit occupied strategically important peaks along the LAC.
These peaks had been lost by India during the 1962 war. Since August 30, the PLA is waiting to launch some action. However, the alert troops of the Indian Army have kept the PLA soldiers at bay.
The Indian Army has put up obstacles like barbed wires at mountain heights under Indian control. The barbed wires have been laid as a signal to the Chinese not to cross the line. Don’t come into our area is the message, officials sources say. The Chinese had been trying to come close to the heights in order to ask the Indian Army to vacate them.
The Indian soldiers deployed at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso have been given set rules of engagement and they have been asked to respond with all force available to them if Chinese soldiers come close to their positions. It is the same area where the Indian Army had pre-empted a Chinese effort to unilaterally alter the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
On Monday Chinese soldiers had tried to come close to Indian Army positions while carrying medieval era arrows and spears, prompting the Indian soldiers to fire warning shots in the air.
The last time India and China were involved in a firing incident along the LAC was in 1975 when 4 soldiers of the Assam Rifles were martyred in a PLA ambush near Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.
On Monday, China and India exchanged fire after 45 years. However, both sides fired in the air and there were no casualties.
Top official sources in the Indian Army told News24 that China can’t be trusted at any point. As a result, the Indian Army has to be alert and ready for any counter-action by the PLA.
He said that the PLA had contacted the Indian Army on August 28 through the local hotline at Chushul, and both sides talked about refraining from any action which may escalate the already tense situation and to avoid night patrolling.
But later during the same night, the PLA had moved in over 1,000 soldiers to capture Indian territory on the southern banks of the Pangong Tso, but the attempt was foiled by the alert Indian Army.
Sources said that around 7000 PLA troops, backed by tanks and artillery, are in a face-off with the Indian Army who took key heights along the stretch from the south bank of the Pangong Tso to Thakum and Rechin La during the intervening night of August 29-30 to turn the tables on the PLA.
Indian Army sources said that at Mukpari, where aerial shots were fired by the PLA on Monday evening, a first at the LAC in 45 years, 30-40 Chinese troops continue to be around 250 meters away from Indian positions.
The PLA has also deployed 20-30 tanks, ICVs and thousands of soldiers almost on a daily basis in the Spanggur area. But sources called the move as posturing only of which the Indian Army is well aware.
China has also deployed sizeable military assets in the eastern Ladakh theatre, including 50,000 troops, 150 aircraft, tanks, heavy artillery, missiles and air defence systems.