ISLAMABAD: Chinese and India armies are moving and deploying heavy equipment and weaponry including artillery guns and combat vehicles to their rear bases close to the disputed areas in eastern Ladakh bordering between the countries as the two militaries remained engaged in a bitter standoff along the troubled border for over 25 days, Indian military sources claimed on Sunday.
A new element has come up in the situation as the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been inducted to keep a strict aerial surveillance in the disputed region. The IAF action was missing in 1962 China-India war where India had to face humiliating defeat. The enhancement of combat capability by the two armies in the region came even as both the countries continued their efforts to resolve the dispute through talks at military and diplomatic levels.
The Chinese army has been gradually ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh by rushing in artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment, the sources said.
The Indian Army has also been moving in additional troops as well equipment and weapons like artillery guns to aggressively match up to the Chinese build-up, they said, adding that India will not relent till status quo is restored in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and several other areas.
Interestingly Chinese troops had already repulsed Indian army in the disputed area, and they have established their control in sizeable area. Indian sources have conceded that a substantial number of Chinese army personnel entered the Indian side of the disputed border earlier this month and have been camping in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley since then. Indian presence in the area was illegal.
The Indian army fiercely objected to the actions by the Chinese troops and demanded their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace and tranquility in the area. The Chinese army has ramped up their presence in Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie too — the two sensitive areas with a history of skirmishes involving the two sides. The Chinese army is learnt to have deployed around 2,500 troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley besides gradually enhancing temporary infrastructure and weaponry. However, there is no official figure about the numbers. Sources said satellite images have captured significant ramping up of defence infrastructure by China on its side of the disputed border including construction activities at a military airbase around 180kms from the Pangong Tso area.
The assessment by the Indian army is that the buildup is aimed at putting pressure on India. “We are well aware of the Chinese ploy. The Indian Army is firm on its stand that we are not going to accept anything less than restoration of status quo in the area,” said a senior military official.
Interestingly China hasn’t officially offered any word about the developments and it hasn’t attached any significance to the reports appeared in India.
India Defence Minister Rajnath Singh claimed a day earlier that bilateral talks were on at military and diplomatic levels with China to resolve the row, but Chinese are silent regarding the Indian statement. The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.