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Ladakh stand-off: India, China move heavy weapons close to disputed border

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The Chinese and Indian Army military are moving in heavy equipment and weaponry including artillery and combat vehicles to their rear bases close to the disputed areas in eastern Ladakh. The two sides remain engaged in a standoff along the troubled region for over 25 days, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported military sources as saying Sunday.

The Chinese Army has been gradually ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near the Line of Actual Control or LAC in eastern Ladakh by rushing in artillery, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment, the PTI said.

The Indian Army has also been moving in additional troops as well equipment and weapons like artillery to aggressively match up to the Chinese build-up, Indian military sources said, adding that India will not relent till status quo is restored in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and a number of other areas.

A sizeable number of Chinese Army personnel entered into the Indian side of the de-facto border in the beginning of May and have been camping in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley since then, the PTI said.

The Chinese Army has ramped up their presence in Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie too - the two sensitive areas with a history of skirmishes involving the two sides, according to the PTI.

The Chinese Army has deployed around 2,500 troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley, besides gradually enhancing temporary infrastructure and weaponry, the PTI said.

The face-off reportedly was triggered by China's opposition to India's construction of a road around Pangong Tso Lake, besides construction of another road connecting Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.

India, China talking through diplomatic, military channels

India and China are talking through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the ongoing troop confrontation in eastern Ladakh, said defense minister Rajnath Singh, adding even the major 73-day Doklam face-off in 2017 had also been defused through bilateral dialogue.

The minister, in a couple of interviews to television channels on Saturday, did not directly answer whether Chinese troops had actually intruded deep into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the Times of India pointed out.

"There are perceptional differences with China over the LAC," he said, but added in another interview that the Chinese soldiers had "come a little further than they used to earlier" to make the "situation different this time".

Times of India said Singh's remarks are the first by a senior minister since violent clashes between rival troops on May 5-6 after People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers intruded around 1-3 km into what India considers to be its territory on the northern bank of Pangong Tso (Tso means lake), Galwan Valley region and Demchok in eastern Ladakh.

Since then, the PLA troops have further consolidated their positions at the four to five face-off sites by digging trenches, building bunkers and extending roads in the high-altitude region, while being backed by over 5,000 soldiers amassed within Chinese territory across the LAC, according to the Times of India.

"India's policy has been very clear that we want good relations with all our neighbors. But sometimes, circumstances arise with China that things like this happen. They have happened in the past also," said Singh.

Both countries have made it clear that they want to resolve the present troop confrontation peacefully. "India's effort is to ensure that border tensions do not increase"China also agrees," he added

Referring to the Doklam face-off near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in 2017, he said: "It appeared at that time that the situation was very tense. But we did not step back" Ultimately, we were able to resolve the situation."

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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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