New Delhi: India has demanded that China revert to status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh even as the Chinese have sought stoppage of construction activities by India near the ‘borders’ during the talks being between the two sides over the tense situation in the region.
At least six rounds of talks have been held at the local level (including at the division level) in Ladakh besides diplomatic and others efforts to defuse the situation. Chinese soldiers have transgressed by about 3 km into Indian areas in at least four locations, besides a troop build-up on the northern sector along their side of the LAC.
A source described the talks as a “ping-pong game” as there has been a lot of back and forth without any tangible outcome.
All established channels including diplomatic ones have been activated to ensure that things calm down.
As reported by ThePrint earlier, India too has responded with increased force levels by deploying those in reserves and bringing in more to fill up the reserves and undergo acclimatisation.
New Delhi’s build-up is not just limited to Ladakh but has also been carried out in the Himachal sector and the central sector of the LAC, including the border at Uttarakhand, to check any attempts by the Chinese PLA to transgress the border.
The ‘ping-pong’ talks between two sides
Sources said though several rounds of talks have been held at the local level, nothing concrete has emerged.
“It is like a ping-pong game. Chinese come and agree to something but fail to carry out the confidence-building measure. It’s all going back and forth,” a source said when asked about the talks held between the two sides.
The sources said the Chinese have asked the Indian side to stop construction activities close to the LAC.
As reported by ThePrint earlier, the Chinese are peeved at a road construction work that India is carrying out from Finger 2 area of Pangong Lake, and a feeder road of the strategic Shyok-DBO road made last year.
While the road is well within Indian territory, India is constructing feeder roads from it to the LAC which would enable faster movement of troops and equipment.
Even though the Chinese have built roads near the LAC, it keeps objecting to India’s construction. “The roads are of strategic importance. For example, there are areas where the Chinese can reach within 15 minutes because of roads on their side while we would take about two and half hours to reach by foot patrol,” a source explained.
The Chinese transgressions
While sources in the know continue to maintain that “no transgressions have taken place in the Galwan Valley”, Chinese troops have come in at least 3 km into Indian territory in the larger Hot Spring Area – Patrol Point 14, 15 and Gogra Post — besides in the Finger Areas of Pangong Lake.
The sources said at no point have the Chinese crossed the Chinese Claim Line (CCL). In the strategic Galwan Valley, the CCL and the LAC are the same according to the understanding between the two sides at the local level though no formal maps have been exchanged.
However, in the larger Hot Springs area and the Pangong river side, the CCL extends into the Indian territory and this is where the Chinese have come in.
While no exact number of Chinese troops on Indian territory is known, it is estimated that each transgressed location has Chinese troops ranging from 600-800 each.
As reported earlier, the Chinese army has diverted its troops, carrying out a massive exercise on its side, towards the LAC ramping up pressure on the Indian side.