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Indian Army officers meet Chinese counterparts at Chushul

SP Sharma | Jammu |

Following the first ever incident of stone-pelting between troops of China and India on Tuesday near the Pangong lake in the Eastern Ladakh, the officers of both sides met at Chushul on Wednesday in the afternoon to sort out the matter.

A top military source said that the pre-scheduled Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) was in progress since afternoon on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Chushul.

He said that the yesterday’s incident of the Chinese troops entering the Indian territory on the banks of the lake and pelting stones at the Indian troops were being discussed. Steps to strengthen the existing mechanism for maintaining peace and tranquility were being discussed, he added.

Meanwhile, the situation in the Eastern Ladakh of Jammu and Kashmir continued to be tense on Wednesday as the troops were put on “High Alert” following the firstever incident of Chinese soldiers indulging in stone pelting at the Indian troops on Tuesdayafter crossing into the Indian territory along the disputed Pangong lake. The Indian soldiers reportedly retaliated when the Chinese continued to pelt stones at them. Sources said that the “High Alert” for the troops will continue for few days.

Such skirmish of exchange of stones between the Indian and Chinese soldiers was never seen before at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and any dispute was resolved peacefully by showing banners. The incident has come following the long-stretched standoff between India and china at Doklam.

Reports said that soldiers of both sides were injured in the stone pelting and the Chinese troops were also carrying iron rods. The Chinese troops returned to their side after a standoff of about 2 hours.

The Indian troops sought a flag meeting on the issue but it did not materialize even till Wednesday afternoon.

As a result of tense situation the customary Border Personnel Meeting held between India and China every Independence Day was not held at the two points in Ladakh at Chushul and Daulat-Beig-Oldie for the first time in the past 12 years. The Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China reportedly did not respond to the communications of the Indian Army for the meeting in which sweets are served to officers of the visiting Army.

Reports said that the unsavory incident occurred when patrols of both sides came face to face North of the 135 kms Pangong lake that is claimed by both sides. Soldiers of the PLA had crossed the LAC deep into the Indian territory. 45 kms stretch of the 4350 meters high glacial-melt lake is under the control of India, while China occupies 90 kms length of the lake.

The stone pelting incident by the Chinese occurred twice near the “finger 4” of the lake early in the morning when the Indian troops made a human chain to prevent advancement of the PLA. More than 50 trucks of the PLA were seen near the road along the lake. However, only about 15 PLA soldiers stuck there and refused to retract from the Indian soil on the banks of the lake and indulged in stone pelting to which the Indian troops reportedly retaliated. Chinese soldiers had in the past few years tried to stall building of roads and other development works in the Indian villages of Ladakh. The spurs of mountains forming the Northern bank of the lake are identified by the military as “fingers”. India claims the lakeside territory up to the “finger 8”, but physically controls the area till “finger 4”.

The Indian troops patrol the lake area in high-speed interceptor boats that can carry 15 soldiers at a time.

The incident has come within a few days of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti accusing China of meddling in the affairs of J&K.