Even as the PLA remains adamant against withdrawing its troops who intruded into Eastern Ladakh and BJP MP Tapir Gao indicates PLA intrusions in Arunachal Pradesh, China also appears to be eyeing the border of Himachal Pradesh with China Occupied Tibet (COT) with a view to create more mischief, says retired Lt. General PC Katoch.
China has no illegal claims in this area till now. Himachal Pradesh shares a 260 km border with COT which is quite porous. Of the total border length, 140 km is in Kinnaur District and 80 km of the border falls in Lahaul and Spiti District, Gen Kotch wrote Monday on News18.
After the June 15 clash between Indian Army and PLA in Galwan area, the Himachal Pradesh Police had issued an advisory to police chiefs of border districts of Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti to institute precautionary measures to ensure security of the population and collect intelligence.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has 20 posts along the 260 km border, indicating how porous the border is. Though patrolling is undertaken in the gaps jointly with the Army, opportunities for the enemy exist to intrude because of the ruggedness of the terrain.
According to recent ground reports, China is constructing a motorable road to Khimokul Pass (5641 metres) opposite Morang Valley in Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh. This will likely be extended into the two kilometers no-man's land. Recently a mixed patrol of nine personnel (jawans and locals) from Charang village with 16 ponies and 5 porters traversed 22 km to reach the border and discovered with the melting snows that China has constructed a 20 km road towards the border with India.
Concurrently, China is also constructing a road towards Yamrang La (5570 metres) in Tibet opposite Sangla Valley of Kinnaur District. We may go lax in winters but snows are no hindrance to road construction by China. Recall in December 2017 a hunter from Bishing Village in Arunachal Pradesh had discovered the Chinese constructing a motorable road 1.25 km south of the LAC in Indian Territory under three feet of snow.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector China as a part of southern Tibet. China also does not accept the McMahon Line between Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh. China negotiates with this argument by saying that the agreement happened in 1914 and it happened in its absence, thus, China continues to disagree with it.
It becomes questionable for India if China is planning to intrude on the country with troops or not. Tracing historically, one can see that it intruded on various lands such as Tibet. In 1914, Tibet was an independent country but China invaded with troops and took possession. China finally took Tibet in 1950.
In Eastern Ladakh, the PLA had constructed a new road four kilometers short of Galwan before making multiple intrusions. After their experience in Eastern Ladakh, they would be confident of retaining what they grab with India resorting to nothing more than endless talks.
Since India doesn't admit intrusions because of domestic politics and is pusillanimous to the idea of quid pro quo intrusions, China will go for Indian Territory wherever opportunity exists along the entire length of the LAC. It does not matter whether China had any illegal claims in the region/area earlier or not. After all China has claimed entire Galwan Valley for the first time, same as claiming Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan. The government needs to act with alacrity, Lt. General PC Katoch concluded.