India firm, won’t step back from areas where Chinese troops have intruded
NEW DELHI: India will remain firm on the ground in the ongoing troop confrontations in eastern Ladakh where it said China has violated the unresolved boundary and obstructed Indian patrols even as New Delhi remains committed to a peaceful and diplomatic resolution.
Top government sources said India will continue to “defend its interests resolutely”, deploy “appropriate resources” and work for a peaceful resolution of the dispute, indicating that troops in a forward position will resist the Chinese intrusions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India will soon resume border infrastructure construction activities derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, but will remain “open and flexible” in diplomatic talks with China in a bid to resolve the military stalemate in the Himalayas, another set of sources said.
In an articulation that stood out for forthrightly naming China as the intruder, sources said while India has always remained conscious of where the LAC lies, China has from time to time violated the unresolved boundary, and the government “doesn’t know what their motives are”.
All activities and border patrols by India were being undertaken well within its own side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh, the sources said.
“But despite that, the Chinese obstructed the Indian
patrols. The two sides are engaged diplomatically both here and in Beijing to address the issue, but there won’t be any compromise when it comes to the defence of our territory,” a source said.
This came after a flurry of meetings in South Block, defence minister Rajnath Singh and national security advisor Ajit Doval monitoring the developing situation closely as India sought a non-escalatory posture even while making it clear that it will not allow the LAC to be unilaterally altered.
India is now actively looking at politico-diplomatic intervention to resolve the crisis after several rounds of major general and brigadier-level negotiations at the Chushul-Moldo and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO)-Tien Wien Dien (TWD) border personnel meeting (BPM) points have failed to break the deadlock, as was reported by TOI a day ago.
India is keeping a close eye on troop reinforcements and fortifications by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the four-five confrontations sites on the northern bank of Pangong Tso, Demchok and the Galwan Valley region through satellite pictures and a variety of “surveillance platforms” like aircraft and drones.
“The situation is serious but not alarming. The Indian Army position is clear that it will not allow the status quo to be changed unilaterally by PLA soldiers, who have intruded 1-3 km into what India considers to be its territory,” said another source.
“Indian troops will not budge an inch from their forward positions but will take care not to unnecessarily provoke the PLA troops as per the laid down protocols between the two sides. BPM and hotline talks are being held at the colonel, brigadier and major-general levels but without any breakthrough as yet,” he added.
The Indian Army has moved its battalions under the Leh-based 3 Infantry Division (a division has 10,000-12,000 soldiers) forward to their ‘operational alert areas’, with units from other areas replacing them in the ‘traditional depth areas’, as was first reported by TOI.
China has deployed an estimated 1,200-1,500 soldiers in the almost eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at the different sites in eastern Ladakh spread across a broad frontage of the LAC. The PLA has also diverted at least 5,000 soldiers towards the border from an exercise it was holding in the region as a show of strength