New Delhi: The Defence ministry on Thursday pulled down a document from its website that had for the first time officially acknowledged that Chinese troops had “transgressed” in at least three places in Ladakh. It also said the situation in the area due to “aggression by China” is “sensitive” with the standoff likely to be “prolonged”.
There was no official word why the document which was uploaded on Tuesday was removed after two days.
This comes when the fourth and fifth round of talks between the corps commanders talks of India and China seem to have been unable to achieve a breakthrough on further disengagement in Pangong Tso and other friction areas.
The government is yet to come out with a formal statement on the outcome of the fifth meeting that took place last Sunday, indicating differences between China and India on disengagement.
China has refused to move out its troops from the finger area in Pangong Tso and the Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie sector, putting a break on the disengagement process.
The Defence Ministry document had said that Chinese aggression has been increasing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), particularly in Galwan Valley since May 5, 2020.
“The Chinese side transgressed in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso lake on 17-18 May, 2020,” it said.
It also said that while engagement and dialogue at the military and diplomatic levels was continuing, “the present standoff is likely to be prolonged.”
It added, “The situation in Eastern Ladakh arising from unilateral aggression by China continues to be sensitive and requiring close monitoring and prompt action based on evolving situation.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi continued with his attack on Modi government over its handling of situation with China in Ladakh sector. “Denying China is in our territory and removing documents from websites won’t change the facts,” tweeted Gandhi.
According to sources, China has built up its forces not only in Ladakh but all along the LAC with India.
The Army is now preparing for a stand-off with China to continue for a long period and has started to outline stocks and materials needed for winter deployment of troops at high altitude. It is in the process of placing orders for additional tents and shelters from indigenous as well as foreign vendors.
The Chinese are occupying the finger 5 area in the Pangong Tso and are still continuing to hold the ridges in the finger 4 area. During the initial phase of disengagement, Chinese troops had vacated the banks of Pangong Tso lake in finger 4 area on July 9 and gone back to finger 5.
But Chinese troops still have to vacate area between finger 5 and finger 8, which India claims is its territory. Satellite images have shown huge build-up by Chinese at Pangong Tso including the building of permanent bunkers, huts, installation of artillery guns and stationing of boats. These indicate the Chinese are preparing themselves for a long haul in the area.
In May 2020, Chinese troops in an aggressive move occupied the area between Finger 4 to Finger 8 and prevented Indian troops from patrolling. In the Hot Springs general area, Chinese troops have reportedly not moved back to that extent in the first phase as was agreed in the agreement of June 6 and has still some presence. Galwan Valley is the only friction point where Chines have completely disengaged as per the agreement as there is around 4 kilometer distance between the two armies.
China has brought a large number of troops estimated to be around 40,000 soldiers in the front and depth areas at the LAC in the Ladakh sector where they have also amassed tanks, artillery, aircraft and radars, jammers. India has also done mirror deployment of its troops in Ladakh to counter the Chinese. India has also deployed tanks, heavy artillery and air defence system in the Ladakh sector to counter any Chinese challenge.