Further escalating the ongoing standoff between India and China, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been carrying out an exercise in its depth areas near the Eastern Ladakh sector. The Indian Army is closely watching the Chinese military’s movements and has fully alerted its troops, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senior officials from the forces deployed on the front have reviewed security situation in the depth areas and are keeping a close watch on the situation there.
According to reports, the development is important as discussions between the two neighbouring countries are still underway on issues related to the existing friction points near the Pangong lake area, including hot springs and Gogra heights after the mutual withdrawal of troops from both sides.
The Chinese troops are carrying out their exercise well within their traditional areas with distances at some places ranging from 100 kms and beyond, sources told news agency ANI.
“The Chinese have been coming to these areas for many years where they hold their exercises in summer time. Last year also, they had come to these areas in the garb of exercises and diverted from here towards Eastern Ladakh aggressively," ANI reported.
The Indian troops have been deployed at forward locations in eastern Ladakh and other sectors during summer. The forces deployed by the Indian side in Ladakh include the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Air Force (IAF), and Indian Army. These forces are now deployed at the forward most locations in the sector.
Last year, the Chinese had diverted from their traditional exercise areas and had come to the eastern front leading to the two sides being engaged in a military standoff since then. The Chinese who were suppose to return to their original locations remained at forward locations since then.
Chinese troops have also reportedly constructed bunkers in their territory and have been working to fortify their structures.
Both the countries have large number of troops being deployed at the border areas. India also fortified its positions and prepared its troops for a long haul there as deployments of additional forces and rotations have been ongoing since last year.
The formations of Mathura-based One Strike Corps have also been reoriented towards the Northern borders while one of its Armoured formations would continue to be with it. The deployment of formations and troops in the Sugar sector, Central sector, and the northeastern borders have also been strengthened, ANI reported.
Due to the tactical operations by Indian forces along the southern bank of Pangong Tso, the Army secured disengagement from the Finger area as the two sides continue to hold talks for further disengagement from other friction points.
India has been demanding the Chinese to disengage its troops from Gogra, Hot Springs, and Depsang plains area. However, the Chinese have been maintaining the presence of their long-range air defence batteries including the HQ-9 which can hit targets at over 200 kms ever since the stand-off started along with their fighter nets at Hotan, Ngari Gunsa and Kashgar.
India has also ensured that its guard will remain up in view of the Chinese posturing and maintained a large number of troops in the areas along with frequent deployment of frontline aircraft such as the Rafale fighter jets.