Amid the ongoing standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC), the militaries of India and China are moving in heavy war equipment and weaponry including artillery and combat vehicles to their rear bases close to the disputed areas in eastern Ladakh in India. The two sides remain engaged in a standoff along the troubled region for over 25 days, military sources said on Sunday.
The enhancement of combat capabilities by the two armies in the region happened at a time when both countries are continuing efforts to resolve the border dispute through talks at military and diplomatic levels.
The People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) as the Chinese army is called has been gradually ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near the LoAC in eastern Ladakh by rushing in artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment, sources said.
The Indian Army has been moving in additional troops as well equipment and weapons like artillery guns to aggressively match up to the Chinese build-up, sources said. They said that India would not relent till status quo is restored in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and a number of other areas where China tends to take recourse to incursions every now and then.
The Indian Air Force has been keeping a strict aerial surveillance in the disputed region.
A sizeable number of PLA personnel entered into the Indian side of the de facto border earlier this month. They have been camping in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley since then. The Indian Army fiercely objected to the transgressions by the Chinese troops, demanding their immediate withdrawal for the restoration of peace and tranquility in the area.
The Chinese army has ramped up its presence in Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie too — the two sensitive areas with a history of skirmishes between the two sides.
The Chinese army is learnt to have deployed around 2,500 troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley. It has also gradually enhanced temporary infrastructure and weaponry, the quantity of which is not known.
Sources said satellite images had captured China’s defence infrastructure boost on its side of the LoAC. This includes construction activities at a military airbase around 180 km from the Pangong Tso area.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 30 May said bilateral talks — both military and diplomatic — with China were on to resolve the issue.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the ‘finger’ area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in the Galwan valley.
The sources said China was laying a road in the finger area, too, which is not acceptable to India.
The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which had triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. The India-China border dispute is along the 3,488-km-long LoAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India considers it an inalienable state of the country.
Sources said the Indian Army sent military reinforcements including troops, vehicles and artillery guns to eastern Ladakh to shore up its presence in areas where Chinese soldiers were resorting to aggressive posturing.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a face-off on 5 May, which spilt over to the next day before the two sides agreed to “disengage”. However, the standoff continued.