Tension mounts in Ladakh as China brings in more troops

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Chinese military is fast increasing its troops in areas around Pangong Tso lake and Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, sending a clear signal that it was not ready to end its confrontation with the Indian Army anytime soon.

The Chinese side has particularly bolstered its presence in the Galwan Valley, erecting around 100 tents in the last two weeks and bringing in machinery for possible construction of bunkers, notwithstanding the stiff protest by Indian troops, they said.

In the midst of the escalating tension, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane paid a quiet visit to the headquarters of 14 Corps in Leh on Friday and reviewed with the top commanders the overall security scenario in the region including in the disputed areas along the LAC, the de-facto border between India and China.

Military sources said the Indian Army has also been matching up to the Chinese build-up in both Pangong Tso lake and Galwan Valley and that it is in a much advantageous position in certain other sensitive areas in the region.

The situation in Eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to “disengage” following a meeting at the level of local commanders.

Over 100 Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in the violence. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9.

There were reports of multiple transgressions by Chinese troops in Eastern Ladakh region in the last one week. However, there is no official confirmation or reaction to it.

In the last one week, local commanders of both the sides held at least five meetings during which the Indian side took strong note of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) erecting a large numbers of tents in areas in Galwan Valley which India felt belonged to its side of the LAC, the sources said.

India on Thursday said Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops and asserted that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management.

At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also strongly refuted China’s contention that the tension was triggered due to trespassing by Indian forces on the Chinese side.