Conflict

In a surprise visit, Modi reaches forward posts in Ladakh, interacts with troops

It was only after Modi emerged from the plane that news of PM Modi’s surprise visit got out

Srinagar: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on Friday morning landed in Leh on a closely-guarded visit to Ladakh that has been at the center of the standoff with China’s People’s Liberation Army troops since early May.

Modi was accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Gen MM Naravane.

Government officials had earlier only let it be known that CDS Rawat would visit Ladakh for a review of the tri-services preparedness and a first-hand understanding of the proposed de-escalation and disengagement process at the four stand-off points.

It was only after Modi emerged from the plane that news of Modi’s surprise visit got out.

Indian and Chinese soldiers continue to be eyeball to eyeball at the Line of Actual Control at Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, Depsang Plains and Pangong Tso in Ladakh and at Naku La in North Sikkim.

And now China has reportedly started creating trouble for Indian patrols in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area between patrolling points 10 and 13 and the Demchok region in eastern Ladakh.

The armies of India and China are locked in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh, where China has reportedly occupied 60 sq. kilometres of territory claimed by India.

A Chinese diplomat reacting to the standoff in Ladakh has said that the move is linked to the Indian government’s unilateral decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.

The move changed the laws that prohibited Indians from buying land in Kashmir, and made the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir defunct, triggering fears of demographic change in the Muslim majority region of Kashmir.

When India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year, the Chinese foreign ministry had issued two statements criticising the development, including one that focused on the splitting of the state into union territories.

This statement, while urging India to be “cautious” on the border issue and to avoid “actions that further complicate the border issue”, said: “China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border.” This was a reference to the area in Ladakh that New Delhi claims but is controlled by Beijing.

 

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