An Indian patrol party was detained and later released by Chinese forces after a scuffle between the two sides in Ladakh earlier this week, sources have told amid rising tensions between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control. The situation was finally defused after a border meeting of commanders from both sides.
The Indian forces have briefed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), detailing the entire sequence of events that took place near the Pangong lake.
“The situation became very volatile last Wednesday when a scuffle between Indian jawans and the Chinese resulted in the detention of some of our jawans but later they were released,” a senior bureaucrat told.
According to him, in the scuffle, weapons of jawans were also snatched. “But eventually weapons were handed back and our jawans also came back,” he said.
The Army said none of its soldiers were detained by Chinese forces. “There has been no detention of Indian soldiers at the China border. We categorically deny this. It only hurts national interests when media outlets publish unsubstantiated news,” news agency ANI reported Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand as saying.
According to information sent to the central government, the Chinese had managed to come well inside the Indian territory and are also conducting aggressive patrols with motorboats in the Pangong lake.
“It was a massive build-up but now things have calmed down a bit. But it’s not over yet,” a senior officer said.
According to him, both sides now have an equal amount of presence. “China has erected tents on three different locations along the Galwan,” he said. The Galwan river flows in Sub-sector North in Ladakh.
Sources say National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is getting daily briefings on the situation. After one such review, it was decided to strengthen the security set up in that region. Thereafter, India also reinforced its troops in the Galwan region – a flashpoint during the 1962 war.
Sources indicate both India and China have sent in additional troops in the last one week and have also built fortifications and pitched tents at a few stretches along the LAC in three areas in eastern Ladakh which include the northern bank of Pangong Tso, Demchok, and Galwan Valley areas.
Indian Forces have also reported to PMO that Chinese helicopters were seen operating in the disputed region in eastern Ladakh earlier this month. In an interview, the Chief Of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said, “(Chinese) helicopter activity has seen a spurt” in Ladakh.
The face-off between China and India started after China reportedly expressed its displeasure about the construction of a road and bridge in the Galwan area by India. “The road was constructed to help the local population,” a senior officer told.
The Ministry of External Affairs also has clarified that all Indian activities have been undertaken by India on its side of LAC. “China is hindering India’s normal patrolling along LAC,” the foreign ministry has said.
Meanwhile, Army Chief General MM Naravane on Friday visited Leh, headquarters of the 14 Corps in Ladakh to assess the situation along the Line of Actual Control.