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A 24-hour stand-off along China border
National

A 24-hour stand-off along China border

S. Sivadas

The armies of India and China were engaged in a heated exchange and near scuffles in eastern Ladakh near the Pangong Tso Lake, when the Chinese objected to Indian patrolling of the area, according to official sources.

The day-long face-off was finally called off after high-level talks between the two sides. It was explained that the muscle flexing occurred due to differing perceptions of both sides on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China.

Soldiers of the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China were engaged in the confrontation near the border in Ladakh. Tensions, however, eased after the delegation-level talks between two sides and de-escalated and disengaged fully after the talks.

It all started with a scuffle along the 134-Km long Pangong Tso, when PLA troops objected to Indians patrolling the area and resented even their presence. China controls nearly two-thirds of the Pangong Tso lake that extends from Tibet to Ladakh.

The confrontation that started soon after dawn continued for the whole day as troops from both sides remained unrelenting. The ranks of the soldiers on both sides were replenished during the day by reinforcements.

The delegation-level talks were held by officers of the rank of brigadier as per the protocol to defuse such tensions. The LAC between India and China passes through the Pangong Tso lake in Western Himalayas and confrontations are common between the patrolling soldiers of the two sides.

To guard its side of Pangong lake, Indian forces are armed with high-speed interceptor boats, bought from the US, which can accommodate nearly 15 soldiers and are equipped with radars, infrared sensors and Global Positioning System. These boats are used to conduct reconnaissance and area domination patrols.

In June 2017, Indian soldiers crossed the Sikkim border to stop the construction of a Chinese road near the ‘Chicken's Neck,’ a thin strip that links India to its north-eastern states. After more than two months of soldiers staring down at each other just 150 metres apart, the standoff, described as the worst in decades, subsided with both countries accepting that they were withdrawing their troops.