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MEA says Chinese troops again involved in provocative action

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday said that Chinese troops were engaged in provocative action again in the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake on Monday. MEA added that India was able to prevent Chinese attempts.

The development comes within two days of a similar incident involving the Chinese troops in the same area.

The MEA said: “Yesterday, on 31st August, even as the ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation, the Chinese troops again engaged in provocative action. Due to the timely defensive action, the Indian side was able to prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo.”

It added: “The actions and behavior of the Chinese side since earlier this year along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) has been in clear violation of the bilateral agreements and protocols concluded between the two countries to ensure peace and tranquility on the border. Such actions are also in complete disregard to the understandings reached between the two Foreign Ministers as also the Special Representatives.”

Military talks amid rising tension

Notably, India and China on Tuesday held another round of military talks to ease escalating tension triggered by fresh confrontation.

The Brigade Commander-level talks began at 10 am in Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. The specific agenda was to discuss the situation around Pangong Lake. Sources added that the meeting is underway.

Indian Army strengthens presence

Following the developments, the Indian Army has significantly strengthened its presence on a number of “strategic heights” around the lake. Besides, it has further bolstered its presence in the area.

A battalion of the Special Frontier Force was also deployed in the area. Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting. The meeting was held at Army headquarters.

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The sources said the Indian Air Force (IAF) has also been told to enhance its surveillance. They have been asked to keep track of the increasing Chinese air activities along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

Notably, China has deployed J-20 long-range fighter jets and several other key assets in strategically located Hotan airbase. The airbase is around 310 km from eastern Ladakh.

India-China clash of June 15

The stand-off between India and China which started in April-May peaked on June 15. The stand-off intensified after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley.

Some 40 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured in the clash. However, Beijing never confirmed the number of casualties on its side. The two nations had agreed on disengagement since, but the withdrawal of troops is yet to be completed.

Chinese soldiers continue to occupy positions in depth on slopes along Finger 5 and on slopes extending towards Finger 8, satellite pictures showed.

India believes the Line of Actual Control lies at Finger 8, near Fort Khurnak, a historic site in the area. China believes the LAC is at Finger 4 and has prevented Indian soldiers from patrolling beyond the point since April.

 

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