Around 100 Chinese soldiers entered the Indian territory in Uttarakhand and damaged a bridge in Barahoti area before retreating back to China, the Economic Times reported Tuesday.
According to the Economic Times, the soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) transgressed at least 5 kilometers inside the Indian territory through the Tunjun-La pass.
They had come on 55 horses, damaged Indian infrastructure, and left before they could be confronted by the Indian troops.
The ET report, based on sources in the security departments, said that the PLA soldiers roamed in Barahoti for around 3 hours.
The transgression by Chinese troops was reported by locals, after which teams from the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were dispatched.
In the Central Sector (a 545-km stretch of border with Tibet in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), the dispute between India and China is over 2,000 square km of territory, in eight separate areas, according to Times Now News.
Barahoti lies on the border with China in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand, north of the Nanda Devi National Park.
Back in July 2017, Chinese soldiers had transgressed into Barahoti twice during India's standoff with China in Bhutan's Doklam.
An ITBP source had then told the Indian Express that, "On both occasions [on July 15 and July 25] about 15-20 Chinese soldiers transgressed into the territory at Barahoti that India and China lay claim upon. The soldiers stayed there for a while and returned."
Earlier in July this year, an ANI report said, "Recently, a platoon (about 35 soldiers) from the PLA was seen operating around the Barahoti area in Uttarakhand. The Chinese were seen doing some activity in this area after a significant breach."
The latest PLA incursion into the 'Indian' territory comes even as military confrontation in eastern Ladakh continues into 17 months. A Times of India report had quoted their sources as saying that the latest surveillance and intelligence reports show the People's Liberation Army has constructed "new modular container-based accommodations" for its soldiers in "at least eight more forward locations" along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite eastern Ladakh.
Both India and China continue to maintain around 50,000 soldiers each, backed by howitzers, tanks and surface-to-air missile systems in the "immediate depth areas" along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted in May last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
The Economic Times quoted a home ministry official as saying that Indian and Chinese perceptions about LAC differ, which lead to frequent incursions in the area. An ITBP spokesperson, when contacted, refused to comment.
Officials acknowledged that activities of PLA troops have gone up in the region in the past few months. "Earlier also several attempts were made by PLA to infiltrate the Barahoti area. Additional troops have been deployed in the central sector now," said another official.
Intelligence agencies have also flagged Chinese activity at the air base near Barahoti. The PLA has also substantially increased its defense across the LAC in the region since the border confrontation in Ladakh last year.