Sizeable number of Chinese troops moved into eastern Ladakh: Rajnath Singh

Cheryl Sanders
June 3, 2020

On May 29, China had rejected US President Donald Trump's offer to mediate between India and China to end their current border standoff.

India has said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC and has strongly refuted Beijing's contention the escalating tension was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side. It was unclear if the comments were linked to the rising tensions between India and China.

India is keeping watching the movement of Chinese fighter aircraft flying around 30 kilometres from Eastern Ladakh amid the tense standoff between the neighbours at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

On May 5, a scuffle broke out at the Pangong Tso lake, located 14,000 feet (4,270 meters) above the sea level in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, when Indian and Chinese army personnel clashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting in which soldiers on both sides sustained injuries.

Asserting that it would be a matter of grave concern if the reports of Chinese transgressions were true, the Congress said they stood by the soldiers and the government, but clarity about the situation was required.

On the Indian side, the unmanned aerial vehicles of the Ladakh-based "surveillance and target acquisition batteries" of defence forces and intelligence agencies are using their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to carry out reconnaissance of both sides of the LAC and Chinese positions along the Galwan Nala, the sources said. "Both diplomatic and military communication channels between China and India on the border issue are open", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing. In the Pangong Tso sector, Indian troops are in contact with the Chinese at the so-called Fox Hole Peninsula. The two countries fought a war in 1962, but the border issues have lingered on. The tension along the border has soared after China deployed military fighter planes along the border, signalling that the confrontation between the two military powers could become the biggest face-off after the Doklam episode in 2017.

China claims about 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, referred to informally by some Chinese as "Southern Tibet".

Some experts argue that India's increasing military capabilities and decision to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 also contributed to the latest flareup. He made the remarks ahead of a planned virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

However, it is apparent that the two countries still have not been able to settle their border dispute and lay final claim to the remote territories in question.

The defence minister said China should think about the issue seriously so that it can be resolved soon. "Chinese President Xi Jinping is now under a lot of pressure for mishandling the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures taken to contain it", he told DW.

Before talks began, Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General Y.K. Joshi also reached Ladakh to review the ground situation. "The government must come clean and tell India exactly what's happening".

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