Chinese soldiers and some civilians appeared on the other side of the Sindu river in the Demchuk region of Ladakh and displayed banners and Chinese flag in protest when Indian villagers were celebrating the birthday of the Dalai Lama. The incident occurred on 6 July.
The Chinese, comprising Army personnel and civilians, came in five vehicles and raised banners near the village community centre where the Dalai Lama’s birthday was being celebrated.
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 86th birthday. This is the first time Narendra Modi has publicly confirmed speaking with the Dalai Lama since he took over as prime minister in 2014.
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Spoke on phone to His Holiness the @DalaiLama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. We wish him a long and healthy life.”
President of the Tibetan government-in-exile Penpa Tsering said last week that the Dalai Lama was expected to meet Prime Minister Modi after the Covid-19 situation stabilises.
Prime Minister Modi’s tweet shows a significant change in India’s Tibet policy vi’s-a-vi’s China and a strong message to Beijing. The Indian government had not wished China on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.
India and China have been in a military stand-off since April-May last year and are yet to find solutions to de-escalate tensions at the friction points, including the Hot Springs-Gogra heights.
The Chinese fighter aircraft activities took place from its bases including the Hotan, Gar Gunsa and Kashgar airfields. These have been upgraded recently to enable operations by all types of fighters along with concrete structures to hide away the presence of the number of fighters present at its different airbases.
The Indian and Chinese sides have held multiple rounds of talks at both military and diplomatic levels but without much yield except for the limited mutual withdrawal of soldiers by both sides on both northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso.