The Indian Army on Sunday “categorically denied” reports that Indian patrol teams had been detained by PLA troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, during the current standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies .
“There has been no detention of Indian soldiers at the borders. We categorically deny this,” Army spokesperson Col. Aman Anand said, a day after reports referred to the alleged detention of Indian soldiers in three separate incidents. The spokesperson said the reports hurt “national interests”.
Tensions between India and China along the LAC have been rising for the past month, since PLA troops tried to disrupt road construction in the Ladakh sector; dozens of soldiers have been injured in incidents of jostling and pushing in at least four points of conflict. Thus far, officials have explained that the skirmishes have been caused by “differing perceptions” of the LAC, which is not fully demarcated.
In three statements last week, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleged that Indian troops had carried out what it called “infringement activities”, “trespassing” into Chinese-claimed territory in Sikkim and Ladakh, and even accused India of “attempting to unilaterally change the status of border control”.
Also read: India rejects China’s claims of trespass
The Ministry of External Affairs had termed the Chinese claims as “inaccurate” and countered that it was the PLA that had “undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns”, also indicating that “established mechanisms” of talks by military commanders were working to resolve the situation.
Both the Army and ITBP operate along the LAC in Ladakh. While there have been no incidents of firing across the LAC in decades, particularly after the agreements on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity signed in 1993, skirmishes in recent years have seen soldiers throwing rocks, violently pushing and punching one another.
In the current standoff, incidents have been reported from three points on the LAC in Ladakh — Pangong Tso (lake), Galwan Nalah and Demchok, and one at Nakula Pass in Sikkim.
According to an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, an independent think tank based in Canberra, satellite images made available on Twitter showed that the Chinese build up in Ladakh included the Galwan area inside territory patrolled by the Indian Army. The satellite images of May 22 show about 80 tents set by Chinese soldiers along the Galwan river and also show vehicles and other structures.
India too has increased infrastructure in the area, as it completes the construction and refurbishment of the 255 km Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road near the river valley. The Indian Army has mobilised additional troops and equipment and dug into positions close to the Chinese troops as tensions continue at the three points, sources told The Hindu .