New Delhi: China has set up a military base near Finger 5, in the north bank of Pangong Lake, completely cutting off the Indian Army, news reports said on Friday.
The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 Fingers (fingers are mountain spurs jutting into a lake in military parlance) that are contested by both sides.
India claims the Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and had been holding on to the area till Finger 4 but in a clear alteration of status quo, the Chinese have been camping at Finger 4 and have set up fortifications between Finger 5 and 8, IANS reported.
Two months ago, Indian intelligence agencies flagged that cranes, concrete mixture trucks, and other building construction machineries were spotted near Finger 5. They had also flagged that China is making military barracks and offices. Sources said China has stationed hundreds of thousands of troops as well materials at these bases. They have placed tanks, artillery guns and other military armaments at Finger 5.
At Finger 8, troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have set up barracks and constructed underground tunnels. They have set up huge military infrastructure at Finger 8.
Till last year, there was no military infrastructure work carried out in these disputed areas and Indian Army troops used to carry out patrols. There have been regular face-offs between the two armies between Finger 4 and Finger 8, a distance of eight kilometres, on the northern bank of the lake.
Indian Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand was unavailable for comments.
Now, the Indian Army is unable to move ahead of Finger 4 as PLA troops have occupied some heights there.
As a precautionary measure, Indian troops have occupied some heights overlooking the positions occupied by the PLA.
The movement of Indian Army troops beyond Finger 4 is completely cut off, sources said, owing to provocative Chinese military movements.
India and China are engaged in a four-month-long standoff at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there hasn’t been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.
On June 15, as many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan Valley.
Chinese aggression started increasing along the Line of Actual Control and more particularly in Galwan Valley since May 5. The Chinese side transgressed in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong lake on May 17 and May 18
India Ready For Any Eventuality: Rawat Tells MPs
As tensions between India and China continue to simmer in Ladakh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday told the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence that Indian Armed forces were ready for any eventuality.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence is chaired by BJP leader Jual Oram. Members who attended the meeting on Friday included Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
This is probably the first time Rahul Gandhi is attending this committee’s meeting since being nominated to the panel last year after Lok Sabha elections.
Rawat told the committee that the armed forces had taken adequate steps and measures to thwart any attempt by China to further change or alter the status quo along the LAC, NDTV reported.
“Defences forces are alert and will give a befitting reply to the Chinese in case of any misadventure that takes place along the border,” Rawat said.
Pawar had told reporters earlier in the day that he will ask for a presentation for the members of the panel on the situation at LAC in Ladakh.
The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a tense standoff in multiple areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since early May. Shots were fired across the LAC on Monday for the first time in 45 years with the two sides accusing each other of firing in the air.
However, the two countries reached an agreement during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday evening for a five-point roadmap including quick disengagement of troops and avoiding any action that could escalate tensions for resolving the four-month-long face-off, while noting that the current situation at their border is not in the interest of either side.
Government sources said the Indian side strongly raised the deployment of a large number of troops and military equipment by China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and conveyed its concern. The Chinese side could not provide a credible explanation for the troops’ buildup, the sources had said earlier on Friday.
DM Holds Meet With NSA, Top Military Brass
Meanwhile Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top military brass on Friday deliberated on the five-point agreement reached between India and China on de-escalating tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, government sources said.
The deliberation was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh among others, they said.
The meeting also carried out a comprehensive review of the security scenario in eastern Ladakh in view of fresh confrontation by two sides in the southern bank of Pangong lake earlier this week, the sources said.
“The meeting discussed the agreement reached between the two countries,” said a source.
In the meeting, Gen Naravane briefed about the combat readiness of the Army to deal with any eventualities besides elaborating on plans to keep the forces in the high-altitude region during harsh winter months.
India and China reached a five-point consensus to resolve the four-month border row in eastern Ladakh that included quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions and taking steps to restore “peace and tranquillity” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The agreement was finalised at two-and-half-hours of “frank and constructive” talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday evening on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting.
The Indian Army and the Chinese People”s Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a tense standoff in multiple areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since early May. Shots were fired across the LAC on Monday for the first time in 45 years with the two sides accusing each other of firing in the air.
The fresh confrontation further intensified the standoff and triggered a massive military build up by both sides in almost all friction points along the LAC, the de-facto border between the two countries.
In the last few days, the Army further bolstered its dominance over a number of strategic heights overlooking key Chinese-held positions around Pangong lake area.
The sources said additional reinforcements have been made in hill tops and strategic locations around Pangong lake to keep a hawk-eye vigil on Chinese-held position of Finger 4.
The mountainous spurs in the area are referred to as Finger. China has been holding onto Finger 4 to 8 on the north bank of Pangong lake, the sources said.
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