Sept. 4, 2020, 12:40 p.m.
Leh: In an effort to prevent the Indian Army from occupying more strategic heights along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has moved additional troops to eastern Ladakh.
The fresh PLA deployments have been made in the Chushul sector which is tense after clashes were reported in the area a couple of days ago.
“The situation all along the LAC is tense, with heavy deployments by both sides. But it’s like a tinderbox in eastern Ladakh,” a senior officer was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
These Chinese forces include five militia squads for rapid response at the disputed areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
“Militia is basically a reserve force of the Chinese People Liberation Army (PLA). They are deployed during wartime situations and help the PLA in its military operations,” said a senior government officer.
The officer also explained that Chinese militia conducts independent operations and provides combat support and manpower to replenish the PLA.
“It is an irregular mix of mountaineers, boxers, members of local fight clubs and others. Most of the members are raised from the local population,” said the officer.
It was after their deployments across the LAC that China started making incursion attempts into Indian territories.
China had made provocative military movements to change the status quo at Pangong Tso. However, Indian soldiers were already present at those heights to thwart the PLA’s land-grabbing bid.
On the intervening night of August 29 and August 30, 2020, PLA troops had violated the previous consensus agreed in military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.
“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso, and undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground,” the force said.
The Indian Army also stated that they are committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity through dialogue, but are also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.
North of the Pangong Tso, China has refused to move back from its present military position. China has strengthened their positions between Finger-5 and 8 of the Pangong Lake. The PLA has refused to pull back eastwards from the 8-km stretch it has occupied from Finger-4 to Finger-8 by building scores of new fortifications there since early May. The mountain spurs jutting into the lake are referred to as Fingers in military parlance.
India has asked China to completely withdraw troops from Pangong Tso.
Both the countries have been engaged in the standoff since May. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough.
India has also found that the Chinese side has started troop, artillery and armour build-up in three sectors of the LAC — western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh).
On June 15, twenty Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash at the Galwan valley.