Indian and Chinese militaries on Sunday held another round of talks in eastern Ladakh in an attempt to calm tensions even as the situation remained “delicate” with both sides further rushing in additional troops and weapons following last week’s confrontations, government sources said.
The nearly four-hour brigade commander-level interaction near Chushul could not produce any tangible outcome, they said.
The sources said the Indian Army has been on a very high level of alert and is ready to deal with any eventuality in the area.
The overall situation in the region continued to be delicate, they said.
Tension escalated in the region after Indian troops foiled attempts by Chinese military to occupy Indian territories in the southern bank of Pangong lake area on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
Following the confrontation, India occupied a number of strategic heights in the Chushul sector overlooking crucial bases of the Chinese military. Since then, China has deployed additional troops, tanks and anti-tank guided missiles in the area.
India too has strengthened its combat capabilities following reinforcements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The two sides held extensive talks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, each lasting over six hours, but no concrete result emerged from the negotiations.
In talks with his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe on Friday in Moscow, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conveyed that China’s actions like amassing a large number of troops, its aggressive behaviour and attempts to alter the status quo in Ladakh were in violation of bilateral pacts.
He also told Wei that China must strictly respect the Line of Actual Control(LAC) and not make attempts to unilaterally change its status quo.
Sources said that Singh told Wei firmly that India will not “cede an inch of land” and is determined to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the country at “all cost”.
On Monday, the Indian Army said the Chinese military carried out “provocative military movements” to “unilaterally” change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30 but the attempt was thwarted by the Indian troops.
The two sides were earlier engaged in a confrontation on the northern bank of Pangong lake but it was for the first time such an incident occurred on its southern bank.
There have been reports that China has deployed J-20 long-range fighter jets and several other key assets in strategically located Hotan airbase which is around 310 kms from eastern Ladakh.
In the last three months, the IAF deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in the key frontier air bases in eastern Ladakh and elsewhere along the LAC.
The fresh attempt by China to change the status quo in the Pangong lake area is the first major incident in the area after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. China also suffered casualties but is yet to make the details public. According to an American intelligence report, it was 35. India and China have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks in the last two-and-half months but no significant headway has been made for a resolution to the border row in eastern Ladakh.