Conflict

China now ‘blocks 10 patrolling points’ at LAC in Ladakh: Report

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Amid the standoff with India, the Chinese armed forces personnel have “blocked at least 10 patrolling points” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, a senior GoI official told The Hindu.

On Thursday, the Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh informed Rajya Sabha that face-offs with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) happened because “patrols were interrupted.”

There was no commonly delineated LAC and there was an overlap in LAC’s perception in many areas, he noted.

According to a report by The Hindu, the patrolling points (PPs) are the endpoints along the undefined LAC, up to which the Indian troops patrol after starting from their respective base camps.

The report said, Indian armed forces personnel have been denied access to PPs number 9, 10, 11, 12, 12A, 13, 14, 15, 17, 17A.

The blocked PPs span from the Depsang plains in the north to Pangong Tso (lake) in the south. In all, there are more than 65 PPs from the base of Karakoram to Chumar.

“Since the LAC is undefined, the PPs are the best way to assert territorial claims. With that access blocked by the Chinese and as per the disengagement plans in the past few months when buffer zones were created, many areas have become out of bounding for the Indian armed forces personnel as of now,” the report quoted an official as having said.

The report while quoting another official said that in the past, Chinese commanders had made untenable demands that India vacates an administrative post in Pangong and some heights near the Kurang nala.

As per the disengagement plan agreed between the Corps Commanders of India and China on June 30, the two sides agreed to pull back from all the friction points and decided that “depth areas” such as the Depsang plains in the north, where China has amassed troops, will be looked into.

However, so far the Chinese transgression at Depsang has not been discussed and in none of the government statements, it finds a mention.

Reportedly, about 1,000 square km of surface area in Ladakh along the LAC is said to be under Chinese control, with Indian armed forces personnel troops denied access to patrolling since early this year, the major part- 972 square km lies in Depsang. Patrolling points 10-13, which have been obstructed, fall in Depsang.

The report added that entire stretch along the LAC has witnessed “worrisome hardening of Chinese positions” since April-May, with China “occupying” a considerable area from Finger 4 to 8 near Pangong Tso.

The distance between Finger 4-8, the mountainous spurs abutting the lake, is around 8 km. This was till now patrolled both by India and China as India’s perception of LAC ends at Finger 8.

“The areas currently blocked by the Chinese have always been patrolled by the Indian troops. In all the meetings so far, we have demanded the restoration of status quo ante before April,” the official told The Hindu.

Pertinently, ever since the Foreign ministers of India S Jaishankar and China, Wang Yi, met in Moscow on September 10 and agreed on a five-point solution to ease the border tension, there has been no clarity on when the Corps Commanders will meet.

Earlier in June, India claimed that its 20 armed forces personnel were killed in violent clashes with the Chinese army in Galwan valley.

 

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