China continues military build up along LAC despite truce talks

China continues military build up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh sector even as the two countries are holding talks to defuse the border tension triggered by the violent clash at Galwan Valley on June 15. 

According to reports, the Chinese Army, which started its build up on May 4, has deployed more than 10,000 troops along with heavy artillery, armoured regiments and defence barriers.

ANI reports that though the Indian side claims areas up to Finger 8, the Chinese Army has been blocking Indian troops from going beyond Finger 4.

The agency quoted a source as saying that in the Finger area along the Pangong Tso lake, the Chinese have continued to indulge in heightened military activities like deployment of troops and constructions.

According to ANI, the Chinese side has been aggressively trying to bring newer areas under its control in the Finger area.

Twenty Indian soldiers were martyred in an unprecedented brawl with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley on June 15. The clash, which also resulted in several casualties on the Chinese side, had heightened the tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Indian troops had removed an observation post-like structure in the area, which led to the violent clash. However, the ANI report says the structure has again come up near the Patrolling Point 14.

“The build up on the Indian positions PP-15, PP-17 and PP-17A also continues to exist as the Chinese have been using a road, which moves close to Indian patrolling points from its side, to send both men and equipment urgently to the Indian side. In areas opposite the Daulat Beg Oldie sector, the Chinese are trying to create troubles for the Indian patrols near PP-10 to PP-13,” the agency reports.

It also says the Chinese Air Force has brought in its strategic bombers at its bases including Hotan and Gar Gunsa.

Meanwhile, India and China are holding diplomatic talks through video conference on Wednesday to explore ways to ease tension along the LAC. The talks are scheduled to be held between Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs Naveen Srivastava and Director General in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wu Jianghao.

On Monday, Lt Gen Harinder Singh, the commander of the 14 Corps, held a nearly 11-hour meeting with Commander of the Tibet Military District Maj Gen Liu Lin in an attempt to lower the temperature between the two sides.

Following the Galwana Valley incident, New Delhi has given the armed forces “full freedom” to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure along the 3,500-km de-facto border.

The Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last one week. The IAF has also moved a sizable number of its frontline Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000 aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to several key air bases, including Leh and Srinagar, following the clashes.

The two armies were engaged in a standoff in Galwan and several other areas of eastern Ladakh since May 5 when their troops clashed on the banks of the Pangong Tso.

The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.

Prior to the clashes, both sides had been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it was necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

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