India lost access to 26 patrolling points in Ladakh: Report
In a worrying disclosure, a senior police officer in Ladakh revealed that India allegedly lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in the Union Territory's eastern part, The Hindu reported. As a result of this development, Indian security forces are unable to patrol these areas, it added. It follows India's standoff with China at various flashpoints along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Why does this story matter?
- Since March 2020, India and China have clashed along the LAC in eastern Ladakh over border dispute.
- On December 9, Indian and Chinese forces battled near the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, the worst since 2020's Galwan Valley attack.
- The incident sparked uproar across the country, with Opposition creating an uproar in the Parliament, accusing the Centre of failing to address the border situation.
What does the research paper say?
Out of 65 Patrolling Points (PPs) between Karakoram Pass and Chumur, the presence of Indian Security Forces (ISF) is lost in 26 PPs (i.e. PP nos. 5-17, 24-32, 37), due to restrictive or no patrolling, the Superintendent of Police of Leh, Ladakh PD Nitya, said in a research paper, per NDTV. She reportedly said these Patrolling Points are crucial for surveillance on regular basis.
Chinese PLA takes control under 'Salami Slicing' tactic: Report
The research paper was filed at an annual police meet in Delhi last week. The event was also attended by PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. It claimed that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) takes control of these PPs under a tactic called 'Salami Slicing' in absence of patrolling or civilian movement.
'Buffer zone' strategy used in Galwan Valley by China
The paper alleged that the border under ISFs toward the Indian side is shifted, which allegedly leads to the creation of "buffer zones" and loss of control. The PLA then takes advantage of the buffer zones during de-escalation talks and the creation of more buffer zones, it states. China reportedly used this strategy in Galwan Valley clash in 2020.
Defense sources claim 'no loss of territory'
The Centre was yet to respond to the claims, however, a defense official told The Hindu that "no territory has been lost." "Some areas have been restricted for patrolling for both sides pending diplomatic resolution," he said. "In disengaged areas, we have as many cameras and technical means as the PLA and hence dominate the area as much, if not more," he added.
Congress Party's reaction to 'losing of access' claims
न्यूज चैनल्स इस खबर पर चर्चा क्यों नहीं कर रहे हैं?— Congress (@INCIndia) January 25, 2023
लद्दाख में हमारी ही जमीन पर हमारे सैनिक गश्त नहीं कर पा रहे। 65 पेट्रोलिंग पॉइंट्स में से 26 पर पेट्रोलिंग बंद है।
जिस जमीन की रक्षा करते हमारे 20 जवान शहीद हुए, PM मोदी ने उसे यूं ही छोड़ दिया।
Crucial military talks held last month
Following a deadly conflict between Indian Army and PLA soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector in December last year, both parties attempted to address the problem through high-level military negotiations. The 17th round of discussions was conducted on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo border. During the meetings, both parties expressed their perspectives on the resolution of LAC concerns in the eastern Ladakh area.
India-China face-off over LAC
The report comes just over a month after India accused China of trying to "unilaterally change the status quo" on LAC in Arunanchal Pradesh when clashes left troops on both sides injured. The incident was seen as the most serious face-off since the Galwan Valley clash of 2020. Later, a series of military talks led to a careful pullback of troops on both sides.