Indian high-level drills near China border amid tension over Ladakh

India and China had a limited faceoff following New Delhi’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and split the state into two federally administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Beijing had expressed serious concern over the move and asked New Delhi to restore the status of Ladakh, which India rejected, claiming the decision did not have any impact on the status of the LAC.

Amidst the border tension, India began war games in the high altitude area of the Eastern Ladakh region by integrated troops of all arms and services. The exercise included the deployment of mechanised forces with force multipliers integrating high technology platform.

​It was in this region that Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a run-in on 11 September when Chinese troops objected to the presence of an Indian Army patrol in the northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake. Incidentally, the confrontation took place in the same area where Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a bitter scuffle during the Doklam standoff in the summer of 2017.

Both sides however disengaged after delegation-level talks. “There are established mechanisms to resolve such differing perceptions of the LAC and established mechanisms to resolve such differences”, the Army had said.

Indian Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishankar on Tuesday dismissed the standoff, saying “sometimes that kind of situations [sic] happens”.

“I want to be very clear, I think, what we call, a face-off and it was resolved. From time to time that has happened and it has happened because you have differing perceptions of Line of Actual Control and Patrols meet and sometimes that kind of situations [sic] happens”, Dr Jaishankar told mediapersons.

India and China share a nearly 4,000 km border and, aside from the middle sector, most of the region has a disputed border, including Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls South Tibet.

The Indian Army is going to launch its biggest war games exercise, codenamed HimVijay, in Arunachal Pradesh – another flashpoint between New Delhi and Beijing, starting October in which the Air Force and the Army will jointly carry out real war scenarios simulating a battle.