India, China tensions continued through 2021 and 2022, new details reveal

The Army’s Western Command and Central Command held investiture ceremonies in the run-up to Army Day where it presented gallantry awards to officers who were deployed along Line of Actual Control

January 17, 2024 12:30 am | Updated April 12, 2024 09:46 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Undated photograph released by the Indian Army on February  16, 2021 shows People Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and tanks during military disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

Undated photograph released by the Indian Army on February 16, 2021 shows People Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and tanks during military disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. | Photo Credit: AFP

Tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continued through 2021 and till end 2022 in the backdrop of the standoff in eastern Ladakh and continued attempts by China to ingress into Indian territory, new details have revealed.

The Army has presented gallantry awards to personnel for acts of bravery in this regard at two investiture ceremonies held in the last few days on the eve of Army Day on January 15. One such act involved relaying of live feed from the enemy side in the Sikkim area by a Major-rank officer for 120 hours for which he was awarded Sena Medal (Gallantry).

This incident of November 2022 for which the citation was read at the Central Command investiture ceremony, which also noted the tough conditions and high altitude area in which the officer operated.

As the fresh details of the tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours became public, the Army’s Western Command quickly pulled down the video of the investiture ceremony while that of the Central Command was available when last accessed by this reporter. The ceremony was for operations between September 2021 and November 2022.

Other citations reveal clashes between troops at Shankar Tekri in January 2022 and another clash in November 2022 as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops attempted to lay seize on the Atari post after crossing the LAC.

In the first combat fatalities in 45 years, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the violent clash after they were attacked by Chinese troops in Galwan valley on the night of June 15, 2020 during a “de-escalation” process after a month-long standoff between troops at several points in eastern Ladakh and Sikkim. Further, shots were fired at the south bank of the Pangong Lake in August-September but no injuries were reported, the first time since 1975 that shots were fired along the LAC.

Around the end of August 2020, the Army was in intense action to gain tactical advantage over the PLA on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso after they made deep ingress into Indian territory during which tanks from both sides were just couple of hundred metres away from each other.

Speaking of the situation on the northern borders with China, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said last week that the situation on the northern border is “stable but sensitive.” “We continue to talk to find a solution to address the balance issues between the two sides. Operational preparedness is very high, and deployment is both robust and balanced...,” he stated.

After the beginning of the stand-off in eastern Ladakh in April 2020, India and China had deployed thousands of troops in forward posts along the LAC in the area which largely continue to remain deployed with the disengagement and de-escalation still incomplete. Both sides have over 50,000 troops that continue to be stationed in the area.

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