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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/23/20

40,000 Chinese troops remain on the Indian territory in Ladakh: NDTV

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It seems that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is not in a mood to de-escalate the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as it has continued deployment of around 40,000 troops in its front and depth areas for the Eastern Ladakh sector, NDTV of India reported Wednesday.

The Chinese are also not honoring their commitment for disengagement at the friction points in Eastern Ladakh and not moving back as per the agreed terms during the multiple rounds of talks at the government and Army levels and intervention at the senior level like the one done by the National Security Advisor couple of weeks ago, the NDTV quoted informed sources as saying.

"The Chinese have not shown any signs of de-escalation as they continue to maintain their heavy troop deployment of almost 40,000 troops supported by heavy weaponry like air defence systems, armoured personnel carriers and long-range artillery in front and depth areas," sources said.

The disengagement process has also not made any progress since the last round of talks between the two Corps Commanders held last week and ground positions have also not changed. The Chinese are also showing reluctance in moving out of the Finger 5 area and retreat back to their permanent location in Sirijap as they want to create an observation post in the Finger area, sources said.

Similarly, they have done a heavy amount of construction of structures in the Hot Springs and Gogra post areas, which are the two major friction points in the Eastern Ladakh sector. In the Hot Springs and Gogra area, the Chinese have been giving an excuse that India might occupy strategic heights once they retreat to their permanent locations in their side of the border, the sources said.

China has crossed its 1960 claims along the LAC

Chinese troops are currently present on the north bank of Pangong Lake in Ladakh in an area that is beyond what even China described as its official boundary during talks with India in 1960, official records show, Ananth Krishnan writes in the Hindu.

China's tent that it set up on the bend of the Galwan river, which sparked the violent face-off culminating in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese personnel on June 15, was also beyond China's territorial claims, according to the 1960 records.

The records contradict China's current claims of where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) runs. They also raise questions on recent statements from top Indian officials that China is not present anywhere on Indian territory.

China's Shifting Lines: China's current moves to enforce its Line of Actual Control (LAC) claims, which sparked the recent border incidents, mark a shift from what Beijing told India in 1960 about where its boundaries were, both in the Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake, Krishnan said.

Following border talks in April 1960 in Delhi between Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai that failed to break the impasse, it was decided that officials of the two governments would meet "to examine factual materials in the possession of the two governments to support their stands."

Tellingly, a solution continues to elude the two countries after more than 45 rounds of talks since 1960.

The main planks in a counter-China policy

The situation along the China-India border in Ladakh region is still tense. The disengagement process is proving difficult, and the latest meeting of the Corps Commanders on July 14 has not resulted in any demonstrable progress regarding troop disengagement/de-escalation, according to M. K. Narayanan, a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal.

India is standing firm on both sides ensuring complete disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), while China is laying emphasis on strengthening Confidence Building Measures in the border areas, and proper handling of border issues in a timely manner to "avoid differences becoming disputes".

Details regarding the actual ground situation, meanwhile, remain sketchy, lending itself to differing interpretations. However, it would appear that this time around, China is intent on managing the ground situation to its advantage, and bring about a realignment of the LAC. With the idea of 'buffer zones' having been accepted which apparently are to be located on Indian territory it would appear that China is well on its way to achieving its objective. If China does succeed, it could be for the first time that China has a foothold on the west side of the Kongka Pass.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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