Accusing the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of escalating the situation along the border by using unorthodox weapons (like clubs and stones) and mobilisation of troops, the ministry said all attempts to change the status quo by force were responded to in a firm manner.
“Indian Army has maintained all protocols and agreements between the two countries while the PLA escalated the situation by utilisation of unorthodox weapons and amassing large number of troops,” the report said, adding that Chinese provocative actions took place at more than one area along the LAC.
Terming the Chinese actions as “expansionist designs”, the report said Indian troops took pre-emptive action in end-August to occupy strategic heights along the southern bank of Pangong Tso and continue to be deployed there despite harsh weather conditions.
“In a major skirmish in Galwan, 20 brave Indian soldiers lost their lives while preventing PLA troops from ingressing into our territory. The Chinese also suffered significant casualties. Later on August 28-29, 2020, own troops in a precautionary deployment, pre-empted Chinese expansionist designs and occupied heights along southern bank of Pangong Tso,” it said.
Elaborating on the Indian response to the Chinese build up, the annual report said a rapid mobilisation of forces took place in Ladakh with the help of the air force and military engineers who constructed roads, bridges and accommodation for troops.
“Indian Army, with assistance from IAF, mobilised troops, including accretionary forces, in a very short duration, including heavy equipment like guns, tanks as also ammunition, rations and clothing,” the report said, adding that advance winter stocking for troops has been carried out for the enhanced number of troops on the border.
The report noted the significant role played by the air force in ensuring a rapid response, which included the quick deployment of aircraft, choppers and fighters to the Ladakh sector. “The heavy airlift assets of the transport Fleet of IAF proved their mettle by mobilising huge quantum of war waging machinery along with battle-ready troops in the northern sector in quick time frames, thereby altering the dynamics of the force posturing,” it said.
As reported, talks between India and China to resolve the border dispute have stalled, with the PLA unwilling to budge from the border, particularly the ‘finger’ area along the northern bank of Pangong Tso. Thousands of troops remain deployed at high altitude posts along the LAC through the harsh winter months, with the assumption that the border standoff will continue at least till the summer season. As things stand, there is little possibility for military action by either side, given the weather conditions in eastern Ladakh.