NEW DELHI: The defence ministry on Thursday removed from its website the document that admitted
intruded into Indian territory at different locations in eastern Ladakh in May.
The hasty removal of the document, for which MoD offered no explanation, came after TOI exclusively reported in its Thursday edition that this was the first such official acknowledgement of the
erupted around 90 days ago.
“The Chinese side transgressed in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso on May 17-18,” said the document, which was uploaded on the MoD’s website late on Tuesday.
TOI has been reporting since May that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers have deeply intruded into Indian territory at multiple points in eastern Ladakh. The deadlock in troop disengagement at Pangong Tso and Gogra (Patrolling Point-17A) has continued till now despite five rounds of talks between the rival corps commanders, with the latest being held on August 2.
Consequently, India’s quest for restoration of status quo as it existed in April is still nowhere on the horizon with China hardening its stance about withdrawing from Indian territory, especially in Pangong Tso and the
The MoD document, with the sub-heading “Chinese aggression on LAC”, also accepted this grim reality. “While engagement and dialogue at military and diplomatic level is continuing to arrive at mutually acceptable consensus, the present standoff is likely to be prolonged,” it said.
“The situation in eastern Ladakh arising from unilateral aggression by China continues to be sensitive and requires close monitoring and prompt action based on the evolving situation,” it added.
The PLA has flatly refused to withdraw eastwards from the 8-km stretch it has occupied from `Finger-4’ to `Finger-8’ (mountainous spurs jutting into the lake) on the north bank of Pangong Tso after building scores of new fortifications and gun positions on the north bank of Pangong Tso since early-May. The LAC runs north to south at `Finger-8’, as per India.
The PLA has also remained inflexible about its deep intrusion into what India considers its territory in the strategically-located Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector. PLA troops, camping near the “Bottleneck” area in the Depsang area,have been blocking Indian soldiers from going to their traditional PPs-10, 11, 12 and 13 for around three months now.
The Indian Army, on its part, is prepared to remain forward deployed in the coming winter. The massive “advance winter stocking” for rations and other essential supplies as well as construction of insulated habitats for troops and procurement of specialized winter clothing and other personal gear is already well underway, as was reported by TOI earlier.
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