India said Monday its soldiers thwarted “provocative” movements by China’s military near a disputed border in the Ladakh region months into the rival nations’ deadliest standoff in decades. Start a Homeland Security degree at American Military University.
SOURCE: HOMELAND SECURITY
Local military commanders from the two countries were meeting along the disputed frontier on Monday to resolve the issues, India’s defense ministry said. It said India was committed to dialogue “but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.”
The statement said China’s People’s Liberation Army on Saturday night “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” and “violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements” to settle the standoff in the cold-desert region.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said border forces were communicating over recent matters but gave no details.
“Chinese border troops always act in strict compliance with the Line of Actual Control, and have never crossed the line for any activities,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.
India’s defense ministry issued its statement after a gap of a day and did not give details of the nature of the new incident.
Two Indian security officials said that over two dozen Chinese soldiers walked into Indian-held territory on Saturday night but were blocked by Indian troops and forced to go back.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said the incident did not involve a physical clash.
The defense ministry’s statement said Indian troops “undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground.”
It said the activity took place on the southern bank of Pangong Lake, a glacial lake divided by the de facto frontier between the rivals and where the India-China face off began in early May on the lake’s northern flank.
Indian military experts said the latest incident occurred in Chushul sector, where the two sides were generally respecting each other’s positions.
“We never had any problem in this place and we hold it pretty strongly,” said Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, who served as the Indian military’s northern commander. “After relative calm, China has suddenly opened a fresh, brand new front. It’s a huge provocation.”
India unilaterally declared Ladakh a federal territory and separated it from disputed Kashmir in August 2019, ending its semi-autonomous status and straining the already prickly relationship between New Delhi and Beijing. China was among the countries to strongly condemn the move, raising it at international forums including the U.N. Security Council.
According to some Indian and Chinese strategic experts, India’s move exacerbated existing tensions with China, leading to the deadly June border clash.
The disputed and undemarcated 3,500-kilometer (2,175-mile) border between India and China, referred to as the Line of Actual Control, stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim. The two Asia giants fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh and ended in an uneasy truce. The two countries have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.
The ongoing standoff high in the Karakoram mountains is over disputed portions of a pristine landscape that boasts the world’s highest landing strip, a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world, and a critical link to China’s massive “Belt and Road” infrastructure project. READ MORE HERE