Tension simmering in Eastern Ladakh as Chinese helicopters spotted

Tension simmering in Eastern Ladakh as Chinese helicopters spotted
Representational Photo

Tension is simmering along the India-China border with troops of the two countries maintaining a close watch on each other in the Pangong Tso lake area in Eastern Ladakh, days after nearly 250 soldiers from both sides were engaged in a violent face-off that left many of them injured, sources have confirmed.

At least a couple of Chinese military helicopters werespotted flying close to the un-demarcated Sino-India border in the area afterthe fierce face-off on May 5 following which a fleet of Sukhoi-30 jets of theIndian Air Force too carried out sorties there, the sources said.

The troops on both sides held on to their respectivepositions and even reinforcements were brought in an apprehension of furtherescalation in tension, the sources said when asked about the face-off.

They said tension wasstill prevailing in the area, though both sides agreed to disengage during ameeting of local commanders on May 6.

"The situation remains tense," said a sourceadding some troops are being kept by both sides in the area following theface-off.

When asked, an Army spokesperson said: "Incidents offace-off and aggressive behaviour occur on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).Patrols disengage after local level interaction and dialogue. Temporary andshort duration face-offs occur as boundary is not resolved."

"I clarify that there is no continuing face-off at thePangong Tso lake. There is no build-up of armed troops in the area," hesaid.

The sources said the spotting of Chinese helicopters in thearea was nothing unusual as India too flies a fleet of military choppers in thearea from three bases in the region.

IAF sources said a range of its aircraft, which alsocomprises Sukhoi-30 jets, have been carrying out routine sorties in the regionincluding on May 6, adding there was no violation of Indian airspace in thearea by the Chinese side. The IAF conducts routine sorties in the region fromLeh and Thoise airbases.

On May 5, scores of Indian and Chinese army personnelclashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting, sourcessaid, adding a number of soldiers on both sides sustained injuries in theincident.

In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinesemilitary personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkimsector of the Sino-India border on Saturday. At least 10 soldiers from bothsides sustained injuries in the incident.

The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

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