Army provides inputs and various options to government and China Study Group

Even as tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continue in the wake of reported incursion on April 15 by Chinese troops at Depsang Valley in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, on Thursday apprised Defence Minister A.K. Antony on the prevailing situation.

After reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the Ladakh area with commanders in the Northern Command, the Army Chief met the Minister and discussed the incursion issue with him, officials said.

General Singh returned from Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday evening after reviewing the situation there with Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. K.T. Parnaik.

The officials said the Army had provided its inputs and various options to the government and the high-level China Study Group, which consists of the Defence, Home and Foreign Secretaries, as well as the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff and representatives of internal and external intelligence agencies.

The Group is handling the whole issue in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Security Adviser and the Defence Ministry.

Troops from the 5 Ladakh Scouts battalion, as well as personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, are present in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area.

Informed sources did not rule out the possibility of holding a third flag meeting to resolve the issue. The earlier meetings were held on April 18 and 23.

A platoon-strength contingent of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had come 10 km inside Indian territory in Burthe in the DBO sector on the night of April 15 and established a tented post.

A PLA helicopter entered the Indian airspace on April 21 in the Chumar sector, sources in the government said.

India has maintained that differing perception about the disputed boundary, which remains yet to be demarcated was the root cause of all problems that can be resolved under the existing mechanism. Patrols from both sides go up to the point, which in their perception, is on their side, but it is for the first time that Chinese troops, numbering about 30, had established a tent at DBO, located at a height of about 17,000 feet.

Amid the developments, an Indian Army delegation, led by a Brigadier-level officer, is in China to finalise the dates for a joint military exercise in China in August-September.

The last such exercise was held in Belgaum in 2008. The Indian Army delegation is expected to return from Beijing in a day or two.

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