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Chinese soldiers return to Chumar

Hours after withdrawing from the Chumar region in Ladakh, Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers were on Friday reported to have crossed into Indian territory again and stationed themselves on a hillock.

Official sources said about 35 PLA men returned to Chumar in northeast Ladakh and were perched on a hillock claiming the area to be part of China while another 300 soldiers were maintaining presence close to Line of Actual Control.

The standoff in Demchok and Chumar had cast a shadow on Thursday’s summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Indian Army, which had started scaling down operations from the area following the Chinese withdrawal on Friday night, put a halt and again started pitching their tents for a possible fresh standoff, the sources said.

They said that nearly 300 Chinese soldiers were spotted across the LAC with many of them stationed in their vehicles while others on foot.

This, the sources said, was apparently done by Chinese PLA as the Indian Army had not completely withdrawn from the region.

Chinese troops, without any border meeting, had started withdrawing from the area at 9.45 p.m. of Friday and the Indian Army had also started reducing their presence in the area.

However, as a part of its drill, some Army presence was maintained in the area to verify whether the Chinese had actually returned to their territory which was possible only after daybreak.

In the morning, after Indian Army spotted PLA presence close to the LAC, it was decided to stop reduction of troops till it was verified that the Chinese have gone back to their camps located 10 km from the LAC.

Chumar, the last village in Ladakh area bordering Himachal Pradesh, has been a bone of contention with China claiming it to be its own territory and has been frequenting the area with helicopter incursions almost every year.

Chumar had become a flash point during the fortnight long standoff last year in Daulat Beg Oldie as the Chinese side had objected to overhead bunkers erected by the Indian side.

As part of an agreement reached at the flag meeting to end the standoff from April-May 2013 at DBO, the Indian side had to dismantle some overhead bunkers in Chumar

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 4:06:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chinese-incursions-pla-soldiers-return-to-chumar/article6427294.ece

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