India- China standoff at Ladakh continues: Latest developments | India News

NEW DELHI: The two nuclear neighbours, India and China have been engaged in a face-off now for four months since 20 Indian soldiers died in a melee at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh region on the banks of Pangong Tso in June this year. Despite de-escalation talks at military, diplomatic and political levels, the two Asian giants have evaded a breakthrough. Here are the latest developments:
India counters China’s claims of transgression and aggression
Late of Monday night, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command spokesperson said that Indian troops had provoked China again by illegally crossing the LAC at the “shore of the Shenpao Mountain area”. However, the next morning on Tuesday, Indian Army in a statement said that PLA troops had fired shots in the air to provoke the Indian soldiers who instead practiced restraint, did not indulge in firing and neither did they cross the LAC.
There were some reports that Indian troops fired a few warning shots in the air after they detected aggressive PLA troops trying to move towards the Mukhpari peak and Reqin La (Rechin mountain pass) in the larger Chushul area around 6.15 pm on Monday. This forced the PLA troops to retreat to their positions. But the Indian Army said its troops had refrained from opening fire despite the grave provocation by the PLA.
Shots fired for the first time
The use of firearms, even if just in the air to intimidate the opponent soldiers, marks a very serious escalation along the 3,488-km LAC, where no shots have been fired by either side for the last 45 years, since the military confrontation began in eastern Ladakh in early-May. Even during the clash at Galwan Valley in June, in which 20 Indian soldiers were martyred, no shots were fired. The men died in close combat as the Chinese troops carried sharp knives and sticks studded with iron nails and had attacked the Indian border patrol party.
Foreign Affairs Minister on the way to Moscow via Tehran
The fresh escalation comes even as external affairs minister S Jaishankar left for Moscow on Tuesday morning, where he is scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) ministerial meet on September 10. Ahead of his departure, Jaishankar on Monday had described the situation on the LAC as “very serious”, and that “deep conversations at the political level” were needed.
On his way to Moscow, Jaishankar will stop over in Tehran and meet his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. This meet is important given the possibility of Taliban regaining their dominant position in Afghanistan.
India maintains dominance over heights captured in August
Mukhpari is the highest feature among the multiple heights occupied by Indian troops on August 29-30, with the ridgeline stretching from the southern bank of Pangong Tso at Thakung to Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Magar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Reqin La. Fuming at the proactive military manoeuvre undertaken by India, the PLA has made at least a couple of aggressive moves in the area that were blocked by Indian troops.
Heavy deployment at heights occupied by Indian troops
Around 3,000 Indian troops, heavily-armed with rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and other weapons, are now well entrenched on the tactical heights at altitudes over 15,000-feet, starting from the southern bank of Pangong Tso. The PLA, which has deployed additional troops and tanks opposite the Chushul sector, has been strongly demanding that Indian soldiers vacate the heights that overlook the crucial PLA Moldo garrison, roads and the ingress route for tanks through the Spanggur Gap in the region, as was earlier reported by TOI.

[Source :Times of India]


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