In a fresh confrontation in eastern Ladakh, the Chinese army carried out “provocative military movements” to “unilaterally” change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake on the intervening night of 29 and 30 August but the attempt was thwarted by the Indian troops, the Army said here on Monday.
Army Spokesperson Col Aman Anand said troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army(PLA) “violated” the consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements on the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.
Government sources said a sizeable number of Chinese troops were moving towards the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake in an attempt to occupy the area but the Indian Army quickly made a significant deployment to foil the bid.
The sources said there was no physical clash between the troops of the two sides during China’s attempt to open a new front.
The two sides were engaged in a confrontation on the northern bank of Pangong Tso lake but it was for the first time such an incident occurred on the southern bank, they said.
It is the first major incident in the area after the Galwan Valley clashes on 15 June in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. China also suffered casualties but it is yet to make the details public but according to an American intelligence report it was 35.
In a statement, Col Anand said the Indian Army thwarted the Chinese intentions to “unilaterally” change facts on the ground and undertook measures to strengthen Indian positions in the area.
“Indian troops preempted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground,” the Army spokesperson said.
A Brigade Commander- level meeting was underway at Chushul to resolve the issues, he said.
The spokesperson further said the Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace through dialogue but is also equally determined to protect India’s territorial integrity.
Government sources said the top strategic and military brass including Defence minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs were briefed about the Chinese attempt in detail.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian claimed its border troops always strictly abide by the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In Delhi, experts said that India has taken the Chinese attempt “seriously” and the Army has further increased its deployment of troops and weaponry in and around banks of the Pangong Tso lake following the Chinese attempt