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Ladakh Standoff: India, China engage in 3rd military dialogue after fresh LAC skirmishes at Pangong Tso

Sept. 1, 2020, 12:44 p.m.

Leh: The Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China began the third round of talks at Chushul on Tuesday to resolve the fresh skirmishes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.

“A Brigade Commander-level talk started at 10 a.m. in Chushul on the Indian side,” said a source.

The agenda of the deliberation were the fresh development at three contentious points on the southern banks of the Pangong Lake. India has also raised concerns about Chinese deployment in areas near the Black Top and Helmet Top.

Indian troops have also occupied hill tops and the Chinese want them to step back.

Talks between the two sides took place for five long hours on Monday also.

Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in skirmishes at the southern bank of the Pangong lake where the Chinese brought in close to 450 troops and attempted to change the status quo, the Indian Army said as it thwarted the opponent’s effort.

According to sources, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops with help of ropes and other climbing equipment started climbing at a table-top area between Black Top and Thakung Heights at Pangong Tso’s south bank.

Hearing the commotion, the Indian Army was alerted and swung into action.

Earlier, Indian intelligence agencies had alerted the Indian Army about the Chinese’s PLA plans to change the status quo in other areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Thereafter, skirmishes erupted between both sides but things did not escalate. When Chinese troops saw the strength of Indian troops, the skirmishes stopped.

“Both the countries’ troops are still in an eyeball-to-eyeball position,” said a source. To further de-escalate, the brigade commander-level flag meeting is taking place.

The Indian Army, however, has officially denied any skirmish.

In a statement, the Indian Army said that on the intervening night of August 29 and August 30, PLA troops violated the previous consensus agreed in military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements in an attempt to change the status quo.

“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong lake, and undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the 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 India’s territorial integrity.

China on Monday maintained that the PLA troops never crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

According to information received from sources, the Indian Army carried out a campaign at the southern areas of Pangong Lake, and captured crucial territory.

Indian jawans have captured the important peak ‘Black Top’ in the southern part of Pangong Lake. China wanted to capture this peak located on the Indian border, but the recently deployed Special Operation Force (SFF) of the Indian Army not only drove away the Chinese troops there but took the whole peak in their possession. It is located in Thakung area close to Pengong Lake, which is considered very important in strategic terms.

The PLA of China wanted to capture the Black Top post located in the Chushul sector, so that the Indian Army posts could be monitored. According to the sources, on the intervening night of August 29-30, about 500 Chinese soldiers tried to infiltrate the black top for this purpose. 

But as soon as the Indian Army got wind of these plans, a large number of soldiers were collected from the nearby posts and the Chinese were thwarted. 

The Black Post is now under the control of the Indian Army. Now the Indian Army enjoys a strategic advantage in this area.

The Indian Army has started Operation ‘Tit for Tat’ in the Pangong Lake region. The Indian Army has captured all strategic parts of the Finger 8 area south of Pangong Lake. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese air force has again deployed its most advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft close to Ladakh amidst ongoing tension over the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. 

On Monday evening, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China demanded that India must withdraw its troops from the disputed areas along the LAC in order to avoid tension. It is clear from this demand of China that the Chinese PLA has now started to fear the Indian Army.

However, China also says that its troops have strictly followed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India. China denied the Indian Army statement that the PLA had taken provocative military action along the southern bank of the Pangong Tso. 

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