New Delhi: In a latest development, China’s military said Indian troops had crossed the border on Monday near Pangong Tso, a lake at 4,200 metres, and engaged in “open provocation and caused the border situation to become tense”.
“The Chinese military is taking necessary countermeasures,” the People’s Liberation Army’s regional command said in a statement, accusing India of “seriously violating China’s territorial sovereignty”.
Earlier on Monday, India’s defence ministry said Chinese troops had “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” in the eastern Ladakh region on Saturday night but were blocked by Indian soldiers who were fully prepared, the government said on Monday.
The Ladakh-Srinagar highway has been closed to civilian traffic, reportedly for troop movement. Indian forces remain in large numbers at the latest site of escalation, ready to respond. Taking an aggressive stance, China said its military “is taking necessary countermeasures”.
Meanwhile, unusually sharp exchange between India and China on Monday, going by the irreconcilable statements issued by the two armies, has led to fears of a military escalation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in case the situation is not resolved quickly through bilateral talks at a political and diplomatic level.
As the latest round of tensions involve a new area on the LAC — away from the friction points of last 17 weeks — the whole disputed border in Ladakh is open for any military moves now. This expansion of the frontage of tensions, with both sides constantly trying to gain an upper hand in areas manned heavily by troops of both armies, is inherently unstable.
While the Chinese side insisted that Indian troops move out of the heights they had occupied on the southern bank of Pangong Tso, the Indians refused, arguing that the Chinese would occupy those areas in case they were vacated now.