India, China dig in for long haul, de-escalation seems afar
It's been almost two months that Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in Eastern Ladakh. During this period, a violent clash ensued in Galwan Valley too. Despite talks being initiated at diplomatic and military levels, the tensions are still high. And now, reports have suggested both countries are deploying more troops and are bringing in air forces too.
An altercation led to a bloody conflict in June
Galwan Valley sported a quiet demeanor since the 1962 Indo-Sino war but witnessed bloodbath after China's People's Liberation Army refused to return to its original posts, despite the same being agreed on June 6, during high-level military talks. When the Indian Army lodged a protest, China attacked soldiers with rods, boulders, and rocks. 20 soldiers, including Bihar Regiment's Commanding Officer, were martyred.
China's behavior has miffed India, Delhi ready for long stand-off
Taking strong opposition at the turn of events, New Delhi repeatedly asked Beijing to stay away from attempts of changing the area's status quo and stick to established norms. But China claimed the entire Galwan Valley. An official told IE India wasn't able to decipher why Beijing kept calling it as "their territory". India is now ready for a long haul, he added.
Reportedly, armed forces have been given "free hand"
As it prepares for a long deadlock, India has reportedly granted a "free-hand" to armed forces and is moving requisite equipment along the 3,488-km-long LAC. A report in News18 claimed cargo from Chandigarh's airbase is being lifted to Ladakh by IAF's C-17 Globemaster. Each such trip costs Rs. 10 lakh. Meanwhile, DBO, Fukche, and Nyoma, which are the advanced landing grounds, were activated.
Soldiers and equipment are being transported to Ladakh
Not only this, but the Navy's P-8I is also keeping an eye out for the Chinese movement. Patrolling has been upped at 65 crucial points along the border which Ladakh shares with China. Moreover, soldiers, guns, mechanized infantry, air surveillance radars, frontline fighter jets, and helicopters have been traveling to Ladakh. By the time this exercise is completed, nearly 45,000 soldiers will reach there.
Meanwhile, China has reportedly started working on a helipad
Notably, the build-up is happening on the Chinese side as well. A helipad is reportedly being constructed at Finger 4. There has been a rise in PLA's presence in the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso. An official said China started several infrastructure projects in the last eight weeks. To note, tensions seem to be peaking in Hot Springs, Depsang Plains, and Nathu La too.
China isn't showing interest in discussion: Report
A person told IE that China seems disinterested in retreating to its earlier position. They aren't keen on discussion or disengagement at Pangong Tso. "PLA patrols are now regularly making small forays down the ridge of Finger 3 towards the bank of the lake and then returning to the ridge. They are essentially asking us to move back to Finger 2," the official added.
Rajnath Singh was apprised about recent developments by Army chief
Unsurprisingly, no date has been set for the next round of military talks. On Friday, Army Chief General MM Naravane spoke to Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, after his return from a two-day trip to Russia, apprising him about the situation on the ground. ET said Naravane spoke to Singh about emergency purchases and focused on the talks which happened between the country's military commanders.
Separately, India warned China that its actions will have repercussions
On a related note, India told China that its attempts to alter the status quo by force will have repercussions. India's ambassador to China, Vikram Misri, said, "China has to stop the practice of transgressing and trying to erect structures on the Indian side. The only way to resolve the military standoff is to stop erecting new structures." China should return to earlier positions, he added.