New Delhi: The Army has denied reports of any fresh clash between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh, stating that no attempt has been made by either side to occupy the areas from where the forces had disengaged after the agreement in February this year.
The statement came in view of reports quoting sources that Chinese troops have crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh at several places and at least one clash has taken place between the two sides.
The Army said both India and China have continued with negotiations to resolve the existing issues in eastern Ladakh while regular patrolling has continued in the respective areas along the LAC. It also noted that there have been no clashes in Galwan or any other area since June 2020.
“PLA activities, including turnover of troops, continue to be monitored by the Indian Army,” the Army said in its statement Wednesday.
Both the countries have remained locked in a military stand-off since May last year.
China’s build-up of troops
While India and China disengaged from the contentious Pangong Tso area in March — after multiple rounds of talks at the military and diplomatic levels — there has been no further breakthrough, with China refusing to pull back its troops from Hot Springs and Gogra Post and Depsang Plains.
Defence sources told ThePrint that despite the disengagement of troops at Pangong Tso, there has not been any de-escalation in the area.
“There has been a gradual build-up of Chinese troops and equipment on their side of the LAC. India has also proportionately put in thousands of troops and deployed additional assets in the region,” a source said.
A second defence source explained that minor skirmishes between the troops take place at times when they are in close proximity or bump into each other while patrolling in their respective claim lines along the LAC.
“However, such incidents are far and few and extremely localised. They are immediately brought under control by the subordinate commanders at the local level and do not impact the overall situation,” the source said.
According to a report in The Hindu, Chinese nationals earlier this week protested against Indian villagers celebrating the birthday of the Dalai Lama in Demchok in eastern Ladakh by displaying banners from across the Indus river.
Next round of talks awaited
Last month, at a virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on border affairs, India and China agreed to hold the next round of military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement in remaining friction points.
It was also decided at the meeting to hold the 12th round of the military corps commander talks for complete disengagement from all friction points along the LAC.
The final date for the next round of military talks is still awaited.
Last month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed on India’s military preparedness in eastern Ladakh during his three-day visit to the Union territory.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)