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For the first time, India dominates strategic heights at Pangong Lake

September 02
10:28 2020

New Delhi, Sep 2  For the first time since the India-China skirmishes began at Ladakh earlier this year, the Indian Army is dominating strategic locations on the south bank of Pangong Lake, even as China enhanced deployment of troops close to the Thakung base in Indian territory and tried to change the status quo.

In a crucial gain, India has thwarted incursion attempts by the People’s Liberation Army and thereafter got hold of mountain tops — which are advantageous positions — so that Chinese troops could not come further inside Indian territory.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had made incursions in an attempt to change the status quo after increasing deployment in areas close to ‘Black Top’ and ‘Helmet’ areas at Line of Actual Control (LAC). Thereafter, China mobilised troops close to the Indian base at Thakung, which is in Indian territory.

Thwarting the Chinese designs, India got hold of Rechin La, which is about 2.5 kilometres to 3 kilometres from Rezang La on the LAC on the Indian side.

India has expressed concerns about Chinese mobilisation close to the Indian base at Thakung.

On Tuesday, China accused India of crossing the Line of Actual Control. However, India has denied these claims.

To resolve the issue, militaries of both the countries are now engaged in a dialogue. “Brigade commanders of both the countries have been meeting for three continuous days,” said a senior government officer.

The Chinese embassy in India said Indian troops trespassed the LAC near the southern bank of the lake in an area called Rechin La.

India has said Rechin La is about 2.5 kilometres to 3 kilometres from Rezang La on LAC, on the Indian side and not on Chinese side.

A Chinese embassy spokesperson said, “On August 31st, Indian troops violated the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between China and India, illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass in the western sector of China-India border, and conducted flagrant provocations, which again stirred tension in the border areas.”

Countering the claim, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said, “…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.”

At Pangong Tso, China had already strengthened their positions between Finger-5 and 8. The PLA had refused to pull back eastwards from the 8-km stretch it occupied from Finger-4 to Finger-8 by building scores of new fortifications there since early May.

India has asked China to completely withdraw troops from Pangong Tso. But China refuses to budge.

The mountain spurs jutting into the lake are referred to as Fingers in military parlance.

Both the countries have been engaged in a four-month-long standoff at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there hasn’t been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.

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