Indo-China clash: Army was "ready" for PLA soldiers in Ladakh
On the intervening night of August 29 and 30, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) came in "sufficient numbers," at the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso in Eastern Ladakh with an intent to change the status quo, but the Indian troops were well-prepared. PLA wanted to "unilaterally occupy the area," reports NDTV, but was successfully blocked by the Indian Army. Here are more details.
The daily said Chinese soldiers, deployed along the Southern bank, moved westwards but the Indian Army was aware of their plans. No physical clash, like the Galwan Valley episode, was reported, but Indian soldiers are stationed in the area in large numbers to respond to any mischievous attempts of PLA. Some Chinese soldiers are also present at the volatile site.
Informing about the latest skirmish, the government said today, "PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo." Indian Army thwarted this attempt, the statement said, adding that while India wants peace through dialogue, it is capable of protecting its territory.
The area where the incident happened has been relatively calm, unlike the Northern Bank of Pangong Tso. Notably, PLA's transgression was reported after five rounds of military talks. The last time PLA launched an aggressive attack, India lost 20 soldiers. In the violent face-off in June, an equal number of Chinese soldiers died, but Beijing didn't acknowledge casualties.
Besides Pangong Tso, tensions between India and China are also simmering in Depsang Plains. Chinese troops have blocked India's access to at least five patrolling points, reports Indian Express. During talks with China, India clarified that troops won't revert to their original positions until the status quo is maintained. To recall, it was India's infrastructure push that miffed (?) China, sparking tensions in April.
Commenting on the latest episode, experts said the situation in Ladakh is "grim." Former Navy Chief Admiral (Retired) Arun Prakash told HT that New Delhi may have misread the circumstances. "They seem to have decided to restore their boundary to whatever it was according to their historical interpretation," Prakash added. Sameer Patil, fellow for international security studies at think tank Gateway House, concurred.
"The incident goes against what their diplomats have been saying. The Chinese are suing the diplomatic track to create a smokescreen while the Central Military Commission headed by President Xi Jinping is pushing the case on the ground," Patil said.
After India levied serious allegations on China, slamming its aggressive nature, the latter rubbished the claims. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian claimed PLA soldiers "never cross" LAC and reminded that talks were underway between both nations regarding the situation on the ground. In fact, a brigade commander-level flag meeting happened today in Chusul to resolve the latest dispute, the Indian side disclosed.