New Delhi: Chinese troops engaged in provocative action again in the south bank of Ladakh’s Pangong Lake yesterday, the government said two days after a similar attempt in the same area. But India was able to “prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo” at the Line of Actual Control, the foreign ministry said.
The Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” on August 31 “even as the ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation,” the foreign ministry said Tuesday evening.
India has taken up the issue with China through diplomatic and military channels and has “urged them to discipline and control their frontline troops,” the ministry said.
Sources said this was a daytime operation during which Indian soldiers were surrounded by Chinese soldiers, who were trying to regain the heights that are being dominated by the Indian army. Chinese soldiers were warned not to proceed and Chinese military commanders in discussions with an Indian brigadier at the time was told to tell his forces to stand down to prevent any escalation.
The action came hours before the Chinese Embassy in Delhi, in its strongest statement so far, said ”India’s move has grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty, seriously violated relevant agreements, protocols and important consensus reached between the two countries.”
Earlier today, sources said the army has taken has effective military control of the entire disputed area till India’s perception of the Line of Actual Control in the region. It is controlling multiple key ridges on the south bank of the Pangong Lake, sources said, adding that it was an entirely defensive move made to counter a Chinese build-up.
The People’s Liberation Army had moved their tanks and troops on their side of the LAC conducted on the night of August 29 and August 30, in contravention of the confidence building measures that both sides have worked out during the recent military talks in eastern Ladakh. Under the CBMs, major military movements are not supposed to be carried out at night.
“The actions and behavior of the Chinese side since earlier this year along the LAC has been in clear violation of the bilateral agreements and protocols to ensure peace and tranquility on the border,” India said. Such action, the ministry said, is in complete disregard to the understandings reached between the two Foreign Ministers as also the Special Representatives.
India is committed to resolve outstanding issues along the LAC in the Western Sector through “peaceful dialogue”, the government said.
Since May, Chinese forces have repeatedly transgressed into six areas along the disputed Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action in Galwan Valley.
Though a buffer zone between the forces has since been created, the disengagement process was not complete.