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A file photo of the Pangong lake near the India-China border in Ladakh. (AP)
A file photo of the Pangong lake near the India-China border in Ladakh. (AP)

India sends reinforcements to tackle Chinese aggression along its border

  • India is keeping a close eye on Chinese troops along its eastern periphery, given the multiple intrusions in Ladakh to the west
  • Tensions have been running high since May when India first detected intrusions at multiple points by Chinese soldiers

NEW DELHI : India has sent in additional troops to secure the northern bank of Pangong lake in Ladakh as well as its eastern borders with China, digging into positions it controls along the undemarcated border while bracing for more possible Chinese intrusions.

At the same time, a person familiar with the development said India was keeping a close eye on Chinese troops along its eastern periphery, given the multiple intrusions in Ladakh to the west.

In Ladakh itself, the scene of fresh tensions over the weekend after repeated attempts by Chinese troops to open a new front on the southern banks of Pangong Tso, India has bolstered its positions, a second person familiar with the matter said.

“As part of the precautionary deployment carried out on 30 August, some readjustments of our positions on the north bank of Pangong lake on our side of LAC (Line of Actual Control) was also carried out," the person said without elaborating.

Tensions have been running high since May when India first detected intrusions at multiple points by Chinese soldiers. Ties hit a dangerous low on 15 June when soldiers clashed for the first time in 45 years, with India reporting the deaths of 20 soldiers. China did not reveal its casualties.

On Monday, the Indian army said it had taken pre-emptive steps to ensure Chinese troops did not make inroads into the southern bank of the lake that India has always controlled and had remained undisputed.

Chinese soldiers made repeated attempts to intrude into Indian territory, including at a time when senior military commanders were in talks to resolve the matter, the Indian foreign ministry said on Tuesday. This was seen as the most serious incident since the Galwan valley clash in June.

The negotiations at the brigade commander-level continued for the third day on Wednesday after an inconclusive round on Tuesday.

With India reinforcing its positions and taking strategic heights on the southern bank, soldiers of the two sides were seen to be just 300-500 metres apart with a high possibility of a localized conflict, analysts said. The situation on the southern bank was “quite seriously" tense, the second person cited above said.

Meanwhile, officials in New Delhi ruled out the possibility of a meeting between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, on the margins of the regional Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Moscow this week.

Singh left for Moscow on Wednesday on a three-day visit. The defence ministers of all SCO member-nations are expected to discuss regional security challenges in Moscow on Friday.

Singh will also have a separate meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, during which Singh is expected to push for the speedy delivery of a number of weapons systems, ammunition and spares to India under earlier contracts.

One of the key systems that India has purchased from Russia is an S-400 missile air defence system.

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