India has moved more troops to bolster frontline in eastern ladakh (Representative image)
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army has taken “requisite counter-measures” by further bolstering troop reinforcements in eastern
in face of China’s continuing aggressive behaviour in four to five high-altitude locations along the unresolved border.
A few additional infantry battalions have been moved into Ladakh from other areas to ensure they can replace in “rear locations” the acclimatised troops shifted forward to the sites of confrontation with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said sources on Saturday.
Some other units under the Leh-based infantry division (a division has 10,000-12,000 soldiers) have also similarly moved to “occupy their forward operational alert areas” from their “permanent locations in depth” to cater for any contingency.
The serious nature of the escalation can be gauged from the fact that Army chief General M M Naravane himself visited Ladakh on Friday to take stock of the ground situation, as was reported by TOI.
But military and diplomatic lines of communication are also being kept open with China in a bid to de-escalate the almost month-long troop confrontations on the northern bank of Pangong Tso (Tso means lake), Demchok and
“The military deadlock, however, persists till now,” said a source. There have, in fact, been a few more scuffles between rival patrols since the major violent clash on the northern bank of Pangong Tso sector left several soldiers from both sides badly injured on May 5-6.
The Army, on its part, continues to remain tight-lipped about what has become the most serious confrontation since the 73-day face-off at Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017.
The stand-off at Galwan Valley, a flashpoint even during the 1962 war, has become particularly tense with an estimated figure of around 1,200 PLA soldiers pitching 80 to 100 tents and setting up other fortifications like bunkers in three to four positions in “patrolling point 14” and Gogra post areas, which are ahead of China’s “claim lines” in the region.
Indian positions in the area, around 500 metres away, have also been reinforced to “match” the opposing forces, said sources. Though there have been similar incursions by the Chinese troops in the past – like the 21-day face-off in Depsang Bulge area of the Daulat Beg Oldie sector in April-May 2013 — the much larger PLA presence, with its more aggressive behaviour is somewhat new this time. “It cannot be the work of local commanders…the directions must have come from the top PLA hierarchy and its Western Theatre Command,” said the source.
China is enraged by the completion of the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road, which provides access to the Depsang area and Galwan Valley while ending near the Karakoram Pass, by India last year.