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Chinese Incursion in Ladakh (J&K State)

In a deep incursion, Chinese troops have entered the Indian Territory in Daulat Beg Oldi(DBO) sector in eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post, setting the stage for a face-off with Indian troops. A Platoon-strength contingent of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside the Indian territory in Burthe in DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15 and established a tented post there, according to highly placed sources, which said that a Chinese Army Platoon usually consists of around 50 men, resulting in a possible return to border tension between the Asian giants. The two countries were in touch with each other to resolve the row. The ill-defined border has fuelled 50 years of mistrust despite blossoming economic ties.

Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location. The Indian army set up its own temporary camp just 500 meters (1600 feet) from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers after the incident. ITBP has asked for a Flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response as of now.Due to differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) such types of few face-offs take place in the eastern Ladakhside also occurred earlier and were resolved amicably. As per Army spokesperson’s statement, this is also resolved amicably through existing mechanism. Responding to the reports of a Chinese incursion in Ladakh, the Indian foreign ministry acknowledged both sides were in touch through diplomatic channels established to diffuse border flare-ups.

5th Battalion of Ladakh Scouts, an Infantry regiment of the Indian Army and specializing in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense to take on the PLA challenge and they are also camping there now.The place has not been known to have any permanent civilian population.DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China.It lies at the easternmost point of the Karakoram Range in a cold desert region in the far north of India, just 8 km south of the Chinese border and 9 km northwest of the Aksai Chin LAC between China and India. Temperature plummets as low as minus 30 degree Celsius in the winters.Other than Siachen Glacier military base, it is India's northernmost built-up area. The nearest inhabited town is Murgo to the south, which has a small population of Baltis who primarily depend on apricot farming and yak rearing.

India lost a short but bloody war with China in 1962, fought in Ladakh and the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Today India controls Arunachal Pradesh, while China administers a large area adjacent to Ladakh called Aksai Chin. Neither side is comfortable with the arrangement.Small incursions are common across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border that runs some 4,000 km (2,500 miles) across the Himalayas, but it is rare for either country to set up camp so deep within disputed territory.The two countries have increased their military presence on each side of the border in recent years as their fast-growing economies permit more spending on defence of remote regions. They hold frequent meetings to diffuse tensions, but high-level talks to resolve the dispute have not produced results.The latest incident took place at Daulat Beg, where India established a landing strip during the 1962 war. At 5,100 meters (16,700 feet), the strip is one of the world's highest. It was reopened in 2008.

The Chinese strategy appears to have been aimed at bullying the smaller nations of Asia and simultaneously lull India into a false sense of complacency. Politically, China is trying to isolate India from her neighbours and thereby increase its influence in the Himalayan region. China openly supported and encouraged separatists’ movements in India including Kashmir by providing military, technological and nuclear aid to Pakistan. It is the high time for India to act with maturity and great sense of diplomatic professionalism to counter such incursion attempts in future.





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