There was no comment from the Indian side on the statement made by the Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Colonel Wu Qian
Beijing: The frontline troops of China and India at the south and north banks of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh started synchronised and organised disengagement from Wednesday, the Chinese Defence ministry spokesperson announced here.
There was no comment from the Indian side on the statement made by the Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Colonel Wu Qian, and carried by China’s official media.
According to the consensus reached by the 9th round of the Commander-level talks between China and India, the frontline units of the Chinese and Indian armed forces began organised disengagement from North and South banks of the Pangong Lake from February 10, Wu said in a brief press release.
“Chinese and Indian frontline troops on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake began to disengage synchronously in a planned manner, Wu said.
The militaries of China and India have been engaged in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May last year. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic-level talks to resolve the face-off.
On January 24, the 9th round of China-India Corps Commander-level meeting was held on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point.
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People’s Liberation Army soldier being dealt with as per procedures says Indian Army
New Delhi: The Indian Army apprehended a Chinese soldier on Friday morning on the South bank of Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh where India and China are involved in a tense military stand-off from the last eight months.
“The PLA soldier had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in this area,” said Indian Army on Saturday.
“The PLA soldier is being dealt with as per laid down procedures and circumstances under which he had crossed the LAC are being investigated,” the Indian Army said in a statement in which it also mentioned that troops from both sides are deployed along the LAC since friction erupted last year due to unprecedented mobilisation and forward concentration by Chinese troops.
Sources said the Chinese soldier is being questioned to know whether he accidentally crossed over or was trying to spy.
Chinese state-owned media Global Times said that China has called for an immediate return of the soldier, who it claimed went missing due to “darkness and complicated geography”. It further claimed that China had informed India as soon as the incident occurred, and sought help from the Indian side.
The incident has happened at a time when there has been no breakthrough in talks on disengagement between India and China despite eight rounds of Corps Commanders meeting between the two sides. Due to differences, there has been no further rounds of Corps Commanders meeting since November 6.
The soldier was caught near Gurung Hill, one of the peaks in Kailash range which Indian Army had pre-emptively occupied in August in tit-for-tat action against Chinese aggression on the North bank of Pangong Tso. The move meant that Indian soldiers dominated peaks in the area and had choked PLA movement in the sector.
Earlier in October, the Indian Army had apprehended a Chinese soldier in Demchok sector of Eastern Ladakh, who was returned back.
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New Delhi said “the Indo-Pacific region was a particular focus” of the recent 2+2 talks with the United States
New Delhi: India on Thursday said it has “maintained communications” with China “to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and restore full peace and tranquillity” there.
In yet another veiled message to China, New Delhi said “the Indo-Pacific region was a particular focus” of the recent 2+2 talks at the foreign and defence ministerial level with the United States, and “reiterated the importance of peace, stability and prosperity for all countries in this region”, adding that this was “possible only by upholding the rules based international order, ensuring the freedom of navigation in the international seas, promoting open connectivity and respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states”.
In a statement, the MEA said, “The last round of the Senior Commander talks held on 12 October enabled in-depth discussions between the two sides resulting in enhanced understanding of each other’s positions. The two sides had agreed to maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels, and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement as early as possible. They had also agreed to implement the understandings reached by the leaders of the two countries, not to turn differences into disputes, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.”
The MEA Spokesperson added, “Accordingly we have maintained communications with the Chinese side with a view to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and restore full peace and tranquility. As regards the next round of talks, we will let you know when we have further information to share. … There is no connection between this and any extraneous issue.
In a four-day conference, top commanders of the Army will carry out a comprehensive assessment of India’s combat readiness in eastern Ladakh as well as other sensitive areas along the Line of Actual Control with China.
The commanders will also talk about long-pending reform measures like cutting down on ceremonial practices and non-military activities to ensure a rational distribution of resources, they said.
Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane will chair the Army Commanders’ Conference (ACC). It will be attended by all Army Commanders, Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of the Army headquarters and other senior officers.
According to sources, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will address the commanders on Tuesday.
“The Army Commanders will carry out a comprehensive review of the security challenges facing the nation including the situation in eastern Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir,” said a source.
The commanders will exclusively deliberate on matters relating to human resource management in the Army and carry out an in-depth discussion on on various agenda points highlighted by the top Army Commandersduring the conference.
There will be a discussion on issues flagged by the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, which is India’s only tri-services command.
Besides reviewing the security challenges facing the nation, the Army commanders will attempt to finalise various reform measures recommended by separate internal committees in utilisation of limited resources while at the same time focusing on enhancing operational capability of the 1.3-million strong force, the sources said.
Some of the proposals to be on the table at the conference include discontinuing or at least bringing down the scale of the Army Day and Territorial Army Day parades, cutting down on various ceremonial practices and reducing the number of officers’ mess within individual peace stations, the sources said.
Similarly, the top Army brass will also examine a proposal to bring down the number of guards at official residences of senior officials and another one on reducing the number of CSD canteens if several such facilities are operating within one station, they said.
Another proposal on the table for discussion would be to asking various units to cut costs on celebrating Raising Day and Battle Honour Day.
The sources said the last day’s agenda of the conference will include a briefing by the Director-General of Border Roads on the various infrastructure development projects being undertaken by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and allied formations.
They said “automation initiatives” to optimise utilisation of manpower at various levels of the Army will also be discussed.
“The conference will end with the presentation of sports trophy and flight safety trophy, followed by the closing address by the Chief of Army Staff,” said a source.
New Delhi: The Indian Army has reportedly occupied heights on the north bank of Pangong Tso which overlook Chinese positions on the ridge lines in the Finger 4 area. This means that the Indian Army now has a tactical advantage on both the north and south banks of the Pangong Tso.
Mountain warfare is all about dominating the heights, and since they have come under the Indian Army’s control, there are reports that China has started building up its forces on the north bank of the Pangong Tso and is trying to come closer to the Indian position at Finger 4.
The whole Pangong Tso area in the Ladakh sector is on edge with expectation of some kind of action from the Chinese Army to regain lost ground on the south of the lake where India had in a pre-emptive move occupied two dozen strategic heights.
What has added to the tension is the fact that now all the action in the Pangong Tso area is being controlled directly by commanders in Beijing and it’s no longer in the hands of local PLA officers.
To put pressure on India, China had also brought forward its 15-20 tanks near Spanggur Gap, a mountain pass on the LAC, between China and India. India too has deployed its battle tanks.
In its Moldo garrison, China has now deployed 5,000-7,000 soldiers and India has a similar number in the area.
Chinese troops are on a daily basis trying to threaten Indians positions. India has built defences and put barbed wire around its positions and has warned the Chinese that crossing these wires will attract strong reaction from the Indian Army.
On Monday night the Chinese Army tried to remove the barbed wire but were warned to go back. Chinese troops then fired in the air to intimidate Indian soldiers. PLA troops were carrying what looked like traditional Guandao weapons (a single-edge sword-like blade on the end of a pole) and had automatic rifles.
In May, the Chinese Army had crossed the LAC on the north bank of Pangong Tso and occupied 8 km between Finger 4 and Finger 8 areas. In all diplomatic and military talks between the two countries since, China has bluntly refused to vacate the occupied area.
The Finger Area refers to a set of eight cliffs jutting out of the Sirijap range overlooking Pangong lake (tso). Before the PLA grabbed positions on Finger 4 overlooking Indian deployments, the Army would patrol right up to Finger 8 that New Delhi considers within Indian territory.
NEW DELHI: In a bid to break the continuing deadlock in the ongoing military confrontation in eastern Ladakh since early-May, India and China held their first high-level political meeting on Friday, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) defence ministers’ meet in Moscow. There was no official word on the outcome of the meeting between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe, which began at 9.30 pm Indian time and continued till late on Friday night. Earlier in the day, taking a swipe at China without naming it, Rajnath Singh told the SCO ministerial meet that a peaceful, stable and secure region “demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other’s interest and peaceful resolution of differences”. At the bilateral meet, India stuck to its bottom-line that China restore status quo as it existed in April by withdrawing its forces from the face-off sites at Pangong Tso, Gogra and Depsang, while also reducing its military build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). China had sought the meeting, which took place at Hotel Metropole where Rajnath Singh is staying, after Indian troops undertook a preemptive military manoeuvre to occupy multiple heights in the Chushul sector on August 29-30. Rajnath Singh was accompanied by defence secretary Ajay Kumar, joint secretary (East Asia) in the external affairs ministry Naveen Srivastava and Indian ambassador to Russia, D Bala Venkatesh Varma, among others. The meeting between foreign minister S Jaishankar and his counterpart Wang Yi on September 10, also on the sidelines of a SCO ministerial meet in Moscow, is likely to be more structured and substantial. Rajnath Singh said all member-countries of the SCO, which is home to over 40% of the global population, should work towards the objective of cooperation and non-aggression. “If I may borrow an idea articulated by our Prime Minister in a different context, our goal should be ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’,” he said. The minister also reaffirmed India’s commitment to the evolution of a global security architecture which will be “open, transparent, inclusive, rules-based and anchored in international laws”.
India says its soldiers thwarted “provocative” movements by China’s military near a disputed border in the Ladakh region, but China’s foreign ministry maintains its border troops “never crossed the line of actual control”.
The nations have been trying to settle a border dispute for over 20 years, with the latest face-off beginning in early May
The stand-off is over disputed portions of pristine landscape in the mountainous region
It is a critical link to China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project
Months into the rival nations’ deadliest stand-off in decades, local military commanders from the two countries were meeting along the disputed frontier to “resolve the issues”, India’s defence ministry said.
It added India was committed to dialogue “but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity”.
The statement said China’s People’s Liberation Army on Saturday night (local time) “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” and “violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements” to settle the standoff in the cold-desert region.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a news briefing that both sides were in communication regarding the situation on the ground.
India’s defence ministry issued its statement after a gap of a day and did not give details of the nature of the new conflict.
The statement said Indian troops “undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground”.
It said the activity took place on the southern bank of Pangong Lake, a glacial lake divided by the de facto frontier between the rivals and where the India-China face-off began in early May.
Attempts to settle dispute have failed since 90s
The disputed and undemarcated 3,500-kilometre border between India and China stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim.
The two nations fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh.
They have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.
The ongoing stand-off high in the Karakoram mountains is over disputed portions of a pristine landscape that boasts the world’s highest landing strip, a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world, and a critical link to China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure project.
The face-off began at three places.
Soldiers at Pangong Lake ignored repeated verbal warnings, triggering a yelling match, stone-throwing and even fistfights.
By June, it escalated and spread north in Depsang and Galwan Valley, where India has built an all-weather military road along the disputed frontier.
On June 15, the troops engaged in a night-time medieval clash in Galwan that was the deadliest conflict in 45 years between the nuclear-armed rivals.
NEW DELHI: India is looking to restart the stalled troop disengagement process in eastern Ladakh with China, but is clearly taking no chances by also constructing insulated shelters and procuring foreign and domestic specialised clothing and gear for its soldiers for the long winter deployment ahead. The high-powered China Study Group (CSG), which includes NSA Ajit Doval and foreign minister S Jaishankar, will meet on Tuesday to examine the fresh modalities and time-lines for troop disengagement discussed in the fifth round of military dialogue between the two sides. At the over 10-hour-long meeting between 14 Corps commander Lt General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin on Sunday, India reiterated its demand for completing the disengagement at Pangong Tso and Patrolling Point-14 (PP-14) in Gogra. “But final approvals have to be given by the political leadership on both sides,” said a source. The overall mood in the Indian security establishment remains grim. The Army has kicked off massive “advance winter stocking” for rations and other essential supplies. Sources said construction of insulated habitats for troops, including pre-fabricated huts, Arctic tents and large containers, is also now under way. Fuel has also bee stocked.
NEW DELHI: After physically occupying an almost 8-km stretch of what India considers its territory on the north bank of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has now created a massive signage in the area to claim it as Chinese land. Located between Finger-4 and Finger-5, the 80-metre-long signage is in the shape of inscriptions and is designed to be visible from the air and capable of being picked up by satellites. It consists of the Mandarin symbol meaning China with a map of the country. It seeks to deride India’s claim that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) runs north to south at Finger-8. “It clearly shows the PLA has no intention of leaving the area any time soon. We, too, have counter-mobilised with additional Army and ITBP troops in the area since May for any eventuality. We want restoration of status quo ante, with the PLA pulling back to its original position,” an official said here. PLA soldiers have built dozens of fortifications, prefabricated huts, bunkers and pill-boxes after occupying the ‘Finger-4 to 8’ (mountainous spurs separated by a distance of 8 km) area on the north bank of Pangong Tso in a massive consolidation since early-May. They have also taken control of the nearby heights and ridgeline to dominate the area, as was earlier reported by TOI. Indian soldiers, with an ITBP post located between Finger-3 and 4, have for long been patrolling west to east till Finger-8. The PLA, which has also strengthened its positions on the south bank of the lake, wants Indian soldiers to retreat to the Finger-2 area. Ever since the clash between the rival troops in the area on May 5-6, Chinese soldiers have effectively blocked all Indian patrols from the Finger-4 to 8 area.
NEW DELHI: Chinese helicopters were spotted flying close to the undemarcated border between India and China in Eastern Ladakh after around 250 soldiers of both sides were engaged in a fierce face-off near Pangong Lake in the area last week, official sources said. The situation in the area remained tensed after the violent clashes between the troops on Tuesday evening, they said. Next day, both sides agreed to end the face-off at a meeting of local commanders. The Chinese military helicopters were seen flying close to the Line of Actual Control on at least a couple of occasions following the clashes after which a fleet of Su-30 fighters of the Indian Air Force too carried out sorties in the area, the sources said. There was no official word on whether the Su-30 jets were rushed in to carry out the sorties in the wake of the face-off and aggressive Chinese posturing in the area. Following the fracas, both sides brought in additional troops. The sources said Chinese military helicopters routinely carry out sorties on the Chinese side of the border while Indian Army helicopters also fly in the area. In the face-off on May 5, scores of Indian and Chinese army personnel clashed along the northern bank of the Pangong Lake and even resorted to stone-pelting. A number of soldiers on both the sides sustained injuries. It was the first case of troops from the two sides exchanging blows after a similar incident around the Pangong Lake in August 2017. In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector of the Sino-India border on Saturday. At least 10 soldiers from both the sides sustained injuries in the incident. The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it. Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, months after the Doklam standoff. In the summit, the two leaders decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications so that they can build trust and understanding. Modi and Xi held their second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai in October last year with a focus on further broadening the bilateral ties.