After New Delhi on Friday rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that he had discussed the Chinese intrusion across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government stated that defence minister Rajnath Singh had spoken with his American counterpart, defence secretary Mark Esper.
Besides discussing the Covid-19 pandemic, “They reviewed progress on various bilateral defence cooperation arrangements and expressed their commitment to further promote defence partnership,” stated a defence ministry release.
Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, which had intruded into the Pangong Lake sector and the Galwan River Valley, continued consolidating their positions, digging defences needed to repel Indian attacks.
Two days after the Chinese foreign minister stated on Wednesday that the “border areas situation is overall stable and controllable,” government sources reported and satellite photos confirmed that the PLA was constructing concrete bunkers at four places in Galwan, especially Gogra Top and on India’s side of the LAC on the North bank of the Pangong Tso.
It is also being reported that the Chinese are busy extending roads across the LAC to Gogra in the Galwan valley.
In addition, PLA troops have completed a road on the Pangong Tso north bank from Finger 5 to Finger 8, a distance of about 3 kms.
All this has been done over the last two weeks, in the same manner as the PLA took just two weeks in October 1962 to extend a road over the LAC to Tawang, after capturing that border town.
Even more worrisome, the PLA has moved armoured vehicles and artillery guns to the LAC, close to their intrusion points, enabling fire support to be provided to their troops that had crossed the LAC.
There are now about 18 guns in support of the Chinese troops at Pangong Tso, and about 12 guns supporting PLA troops in the Galwan valley.
To contain the threat from the Galwan valley to the tactically important Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road, Indian infantry troops have taken up positions to block further ingress by the PLA.
However, there is no action to evict intruders, nor any deployment of Indian tanks to guard against such an eventuality. Nor is there any deployment of troops from the mountain strike corps that the army created at a cost of some Rs 70,000 crore, purely to act as a deterrent against Chinese intrusions.
Instead, New Delhi stated: “India is committed to the objective of maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas with China and our armed forces scrupulously follow the consensus reached by our leaders and the guidance provided. At the same time, we remain firm in our resolve to ensuring India’s sovereignty and national security.”