New Delhi: As Brigade Commander level talks between India and China ended, the situation along the Line of Actual Control in the southern bank of the Pangong Tso in Ladakh was described as tense. Both sides reportedly deployed tanks and additional troops after the Indian Army did a “tit-for-tat” by dominating the “entire” southern bank of the Pangong Tso over the weekend.
While the outcome of the Brigadier level meeting at Chushul for the second successive day remained inconclusive, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a high-level review meeting in the capital on Tuesday told the armed forces to fortify their positions and defend the territory.
The second flag meeting between ground commanders took place in the wake of a second Chinese ‘provocative action’ on August 31, which was thwarted once again by the Indian troops.
According to media reports it was late-night movement Saturday of Chinese tanks stationed in Moldo, opposite the Chushul sector, which made the Indian Army give the go-ahead to one of its specialised units to capture certain hilltops near the southern banks of the lake, claimed by both India and China as part of their territory.
They described the Indian move as “tit-for-tat action” to dominate the entire southern bank of the Pangong Tso just as the Chinese troops have done with the northern banks.
Sources in the defence and security establishment, however, underlined that the Indian move was defensive in nature and at no place had the Indian Army crossed beyond its specified Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Quoting sources, The Print reported the advance of the Chinese tanks has been limited because India has occupied important heights in the area with Anti Tank Guided Missiles systems (ATGM) in place.
“The situation remains sensitive. All necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure that defences are in place have been taken. The forces remain on a heightened state of alert,” a source, according to The Print said when asked about inputs that said additional artillery, tanks and equipment have been moved.
Earlier India said, the Chinese side has “engaged in provocative military manoeuvres in the late night of 29th and on 30th August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake”.
In a statement, China’s defense ministry accused Indian troops of crossing established lines of control and creating provocations along the southern shore of Pangong Lake and nearby areas.
“The Chinese military is now taking necessary actions in response, will closely follow developments and resolutely safeguard sovereignty over Chinese territory, along with peace and stability along the border,” it said.
Indian military experts said the latest incident occurred in Chushul sector, where the two sides were generally respecting each other’s positions.
“We never had any problem in this place and we hold it pretty strongly,” said Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, who served as the Indian military’s northern commander. “After relative calm, China has suddenly opened a fresh, brand new front. It’s a huge provocation.”
India unilaterally declared Ladakh a federal territory and separated it from Kashmir in August 2019, ending its semi-autonomous status and straining the already prickly relationship between New Delhi and Beijing. China was among the countries to strongly condemn the move, raising it at international forums including the U.N. Security Council.
According to some Indian and Chinese strategic experts, India’s move exacerbated existing tensions with China, leading to the deadly June border clash.
Indo-Pak armies trade gunfire along LoC
The armies of India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged gunfire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez sector of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district after Pakistan army targeted forward defence locations at Bagtore.
Military officials said that the Pakistan Army violated the ceasefire along the LoC this evening and targeted forward defense locations in Tarabal Bagtore area of Gurez sector.
They said that the Indian Army personnel were giving a “strong and befitting” response to the ceasefire violation. “No one has been injured in the firing, which has created panic among the people living near forward areas,” he said.
He further stated that the shelling has been going on from the both sides.
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