LAC standoff | Infrastructure work in India-China border areas to continue despite row

A Changpa nomad shepherd pastures pashmina goats near Korzok village, in Leh district of Ladakh on on August 29, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AFP

There will be no let up in the infrastructure development on the border with China despite the continuing standoff along the Line of Actual Control, a defence source told The Hindu on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed by Army chief Gen. Manoj Naravane on the current situation, it has been learnt. Mr. Singh had also reviewed the overall situation with the Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and the three Service Chiefs on two occasions, earlier this week on Tuesday and also last Friday, the source said.

Also read | Working with China to resolve border issue peacefully, says India

On both occasions, it was conveyed to the Services that the ongoing infrastructure development activities have to continue uninterrupted, the source said, adding that it has also been conveyed that there have to be enough troops on the ground.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had reviewed the situation with the National Security Advisor and Gen. Rawat on Tuesday. China has been objecting to Indian road construction at several points along the LAC.

The almost month long standoff began when Chinese troops moved inside Indian areas with vehicles and equipment in some of the four standoff points at the LAC, including Pangong Tso, Demchok, Galwan Valley and Naku La in Sikkim, where PLA soldiers also blocked Indian patrols and pitched tents. In response, India too moved troops forward and also redeployed additional troops to the Ladakh region.

Also read | China says situation at India border ‘overall stable and controllable’

Stalemate continues

While both India and China asserted that discussions were on through military and diplomatic channels, the stalemate on the ground continued.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Zhao Lijia said on Wednesday in Beijing that the China-India border area situation is “overall stable and controllable now” and it can be resolved “properly though dialogue and consultation.”

However, for India the matter of particular concern is Chinese troops moving back from the positions they moved to inside Indian territory.

Also read | Changing balance across LAC trigger for standoff, says China expert Taylor Fravel

“The issue to be resolved is moving back to earlier positions where Chinese troops have moved inside Indian territory. Otherwise it will change the status quo,” one officer said on condition of anonymity.

There have been at least two instances of major scuffles at Pangong Tso on May 5 and at Naku La on May 9. Sources said that at Naku La in North Sikkim, Chinese troops had moved a couple of kilometres inside and after the issue was resolved between the local commanders on the ground, they have not fully gone back.

Both the Galwan Nalah area in Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim have not been areas of contention in the past, as observed by several officials.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 8:25:50 AM |

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