New Delhi- A security assessment by Indian police in the Himalayan region of Ladakh says there could be more clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along their contested frontier there as Beijing ramps up military infrastructure in the region.
At least 24 soldiers were killed when the armies of the Asian giants clashed in Ladakh, in the western Himalayas, in 2020 but tensions eased after military and diplomatic talks. A fresh clash erupted between the two sides in the eastern Himalayas in December but there were no deaths.
The assessment is part of a new, confidential research paper by the Ladakh Police that was submitted at a conference of top police officers held from January 20 to 22 and has been reviewed by Reuters.
The report said the assessment was based on intelligence gathered by local police in the border areas and the pattern of India-China military tensions over the years.
The Indian army did not respond to a request for comment but the assessment assumes significance as it was submitted at a conference attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The defence and foreign ministries also did not respond to requests for comment.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
“Given the domestic compulsions … in China and their economic interests in the region, the PLA would continue to build up its military infrastructure and skirmishes would also get frequent which may or may not follow a pattern,” the paper said, referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army.
“If we analyse the pattern of skirmishes and tensions, the intensity has increased since 2013-2014 with an interval of every 2-3 years,” it said.
“With the massive infrastructure build up by PLA on Chinese side both the armies are testing each other’s reaction, strength of artillery and infantry mobilisation time”.
The report also said India has been slowly losing ground to China in Ladakh as the border has been pushed inside Indian territory through the creation of buffer zones.
India and China share a 3,500 km (2,100 miles) border that has been disputed since the 1950s. The two sides went to war over it in 1962.
Sikkim, Arunachal Stable But…’: Top Army Officer Amid LAC Tensions
Amid India-China border tension, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Eastern Command RP Kalita on Friday said that the situation in both Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is stable now but unpredictable because of the boundary issue.
The Eastern Command takes care of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim sectors.
Addressing a press conference, GOC-in-C Eastern Command Kalita said, “There are different perceptions about LAC which leads to friction, however, the situation in both Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is stable now but unpredictable because of the absence of delineation of borders.”
He further said that India is continuously monitoring the activities that take place across the border and we are prepared to beat any kind of emerging challenges.
“Eastern Army is responsible for maintaining territorial integrity on eastern borders and the task has been executed by our units and formations with utmost professionalism and dedication. We are continuously evolving and aware of oncoming operational challenges,” said GOC-in-C Eastern Command.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told in parliament that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh and unilaterally change the status quo but they went back to their locations due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders.
Talking about the increase of Chinese troops in India-China border areas, he said, “We have read that gradually there has been an increase in deployment of troops opposite our sectors along with infrastructure being carried out by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) across the down borders.”
GOC-in-C Eastern Command said that it is difficult to quantify the number of Chinese troops deployed in these areas.
“But we are continuously and closely monitoring the developments in these areas,” he added.
When asked about measures being taken to protect Siliguri Corridor, Kalita said, “Siliguri Corridor is geo-strategically extremely important to us. All our mechanisms are in place to ensure there are no disruptions in connectivity in the northeast.”
He further said that PLA started infrastructure development post-2017 Doklam issue within their own territory.
“On our side, to mirror those activities, infrastructure development has been carried out to ensure better response from us in case we’re required to do it,” he added.
He said that Arunachal Pradesh comprises seven valleys so movement is extremely difficult and it is difficult to make roadways.
When asked how it feels when the man in uniform is questioned over the operation and political leaders ask for proof, he said, “This is the national issue as well as a political issue so I would not like to comment much but this much I can say those who raising question they should trust the Indian Army and their operations.”
The GOC Eastern Command said, “The year gone by witnessed profound changes in geopolitical dynamics in the form of security and economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war, the gradual shift of power centre to the Indo-Pacific region that saw sudden key developments in our neighbourhood.”
Follow this link to join our WhatsApp group: Join Now
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.