Today's Paper

Officials confirm two incidents of firing at south bank of Pangong Tso

Hostile terrain:An IAF helicopter flying over a mountain range in Leh, Ladakh, on Thursday.AFP  

The south bank of the Pangong Tso (lake) where Indian and Chinese troops are currently engaged in a face-off, witnessed firing in the air not only on September 7 but also a week earlier, a senior government official told The Hindu .

The official said the first incident when a few rounds were fired in the air was reported on August 30 from the same area. It was not clear how the firing began.

This is the first time since 1975 that shots were fired along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indian Army said on Tuesday that it was the Chinese troops who fired a few rounds in the air on September 7.

On August 31, the Army issued a statement, saying China had carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo in the south bank of the Pangong Tso and “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity”.

The official said the two instances of firing were worrying as no concrete solution on restoring the status quo had been achieved so far through military and diplomatic-level dialogue.

“So far, the policy at the China border has only been reactionary. China takes some action and Indian troops react. It cannot be a long-term solution as winter is approaching and it will be difficult to maintain posts at such high altitudes,” said the official.

Till now, no dispute has been reported in the south bank and for the past week, the Indian Army has dominated the ridges and hills here.

The official asserted that the Army had not transgressed into Chinese territory and was occupying ridges and heights that fall in Indian territory.

China has been amassing troops along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since April-May. Many areas in Depsang, Gogra-Hot Springs, Galwan and the north bank of Pangong Tso, within the LAC, have been out of bounds for patrolling by Indian troops since May.