Amid heightened tensions, India and China today held another round of brigade commander level talks at Chushul/ Moldo to resolve the situation arising from the Saturday night incident in which the Indian Army thwarted a major attempt by Chinese troops to alter the status quo at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh.
Sources said the agenda of the meeting included fresh developments at three contentious points on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake. India also raised concerns about Chinese deployment in areas near the Black Top and Helmet Top. Indian troops have also occupied hill tops and the Chinese want them to step back.
In New Delhi, National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is understood to have reviewed the situation at LAC with the top military brass. Doval is India’s Special Representative (SR) for boundary talks with China.
Sources said the Indian action on Saturday came after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tried to transgress into the Indian areas using a sizeable number of troops. The Indian soldiers responded with alacrity and preempted the PLA activity, undertaking measures to strengthen their positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground.
The Indian troops of the Special Frontier Force (SFF) are believed to have occupied key mountain heights which China claims as its own.
The swift response by the Indian Army to the PLA activity in the area has come as a rude shock to the Chinese side.
In a statement today, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong accused Indian troops of violating the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between the two countries, illegally trespassing the LAC again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass, and conducting flagrant provocations, which again stirred tension in the border areas.
“’India’s move has grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries, and severely damaged peace and tranquility along ChinaIndia border areas. What India has done runs counter to the efforts made by both sides for a period of time to ease and cool down the situation on the ground, and China is resolutely opposed to this,” she said.
The Chinese spokesperson said China has made solemn representations to the Indian side, urging it to control and restrain its frontline troops, earnestly honor its commitments, immediately stop all provocative actions, immediately withdraw its troops illegally trespassing the LAC and immediately stop any actions leading to the escalation and complication of the situation.
State-run Chinese daily the Global Times, meanwhile, continued to indulge in anti-India rhetoric, claiming that the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake where the latest confrontation took place was under China’s control.
“India is trying to turn it into a new disputed area as a bargaining chip in negotiations. Obviously, India is taking an aggressive approach on border issues rather than prioritising stability in border regions,” it added.
The daily said India must know it was facing a powerful China and the PLA has sufficient force to safeguard every inch of the country.
“Chinese people have shown support to the government which won’t seek to provoke India, but does not allow it to encroach on China’s territory. China is strategically firm in the southwestern border areas and is also prepared for any circumstance, it added.
The newspaper said China would welcome it if India wanted to coexist in peace. If India wanted to engage in competition, China has more tools and capability than India. If India would like a military showdown, the PLA was bound to make the Indian Army suffer much more severe losses than it did in 1962. Meanwhile, India today claimed PLA troops again indulged in provocative action.