The Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh remains tense after recent reports of firing between Bharatiya and Chinese soldiers manning the frontier. The news was first broken from the Chinese side through its mouthpiece Global Times.
The newspaper reported that “Indian troops again illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Monday and outrageously fired warning shots on Chinese border patrol soldiers who were about to negotiate. Chinese troops were forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation.”
According to Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, a spokesperson of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command “The Indian troops crossed the LAC at the west section of the China-India border, into the Shenpao mountain region” south of Pangong Tso Lake. He also said that “They are serious military provocations and are of very bad nature. We request the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions, immediately withdraw cross-line personnel, strictly restrain front-line troops, and strictly investigate and punish personnel who fired shots to ensure that similar incidents do not occur again.”
Threatening the Bharatiya armed forces, the spokesperson said, “Western Theater troops will resolutely perform their duties and missions and resolutely defend national territorial sovereignty,”
India Today confirmed the report of “warning shots” fired. It also reported that this was not the first time that shots were fired at the LAC in recent times. According to its sources, there was another exchange of fire on 31st August, however both these incidents were of warning shots.
It is notable that the situation has been tense on the LAC since April-May of this year and had resulted in a violent clash in mid-June. In the clash, 20 Bharatiya soldiers attained veergati, while reportedly more than 40 of Chinese soldiers were killed. Just a few days ago, on 29/30 August, Bharatiya forces had captured some area on south bank of Pangong Tso and started dominating the area. A soldier of SFF, Nyima Tenzin had attained veergati in the operation.
China has been restless since the key features of Helmet Top and Black Top have been captured by Bharatiya troops and has been making efforts to get Bharat to vacate the area. However, it has been unable to do so due to the superior position of Bharatiya armed forces in the area.
Despite all the tensions, the LAC had not seen firing since 1975, as the agreement between both countries prohibited firing on the disputed border. However, since the unfortunate clash in Galwan, Bharat has said that it will use its fire power when the lives of its soldiers are threatened. It must be noted that Bharat has superior arms, logistics, air support and troops in the area in comparison to China.
Bharat has been trying to solve the process by talks but Chinese side rebuffed any efforts at peace since April-May and were intransigent in vacating the area they had illegally captured. There had been regular meetings at Chushul between commanders that yielded no result. On Sunday too, a four hour Brigadier level meeting did not result in any tangible progress. Apart from that the Defence Ministers of both the countries met in Moscow during the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is also to visit Moscow soon for the SCO meeting and will likely be meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in coming days.
Since the Bharatiya counter moves in late August, the Chinese have shown more willingness to talk, but have not left their haughty attitude. They have accepted the terms of disengagement and yet not fulfilled them. The recent aggressive moves on part of China are likely to be for domestic consumption as Xi Xinping deals with protests in Hong Kong, Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang where the Chinese Communist Party is carrying on its agenda of suppression and ethnic cleansing. By taking refuge in Han nationalism, the CCP may want to brush its problems under the carpet, but its chickens are soon coming to home to roost.
Update:- The Indian Army has released a satement on the issue, which is being reproduced below:-
“India, while is committed to this engagement and de-escalating the situation on the LAC, China continues to undertake provocative activities to escalate.
At no stage has the Indian army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means including firing.
The PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political levels is in progress. In the instant case on 07 September 2020, it was the PLA troops who were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops. However, despite the grave provocation, own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner.
The Indian army is committed to maintaining peace and Tranquility, however is also determined to protect national integrity and sovereignty at all costs. The statement by the Western Theater Command is an attempt to mislead their domestic and international audience”
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