Amid the tense standoff between India and China, Beijing is believed to have brought forward more troops in the past week along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, taking its total troop deployment to approximately 52,000, reported Economic Times. Among them, nearly 10,000 troops have been deployed on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso.
The lake had been a heated standoff point, undergoing a hectic military activity since the manoeuvres of August 29-30, reported the newspaper. These details form part of a latest comprehensive assessment by the government forces on the “eyeball to eyeball” deployment of Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh, the newspaper reported.
The report notes that Chinese aggressive moves have been met with “mirror deployment” on the Indian side. According to this assessment, the number of battalions deployed in Ladakh by People Liberation Army (PLA) has gone up from thirty-five in August to fifty in September.
Each battalion consists of 1,000-1,200 soldiers. On September 7, PLA troops attempted to come dangerously close to one of the forward positions of Indian Army, which resulted in shots being fired in the air.
An unidentified senior official told the newspaper that “While there have been no fresh incidents of transgression or standoff in past week, there is considerable movement of PLA troops and equipment.”
Chinese forces, unidentified sources told the newspaper, have been trying to alter the status quo but have so far been thwarted by the Indian Army, which now controls four key features in and around the South Bank of the Pangong Tso.
“The increase in the number of friction areas has led to lack of trust among the soldiers. The disengagement will depend upon the outcome of military level talks that is expected to be held this week. Armed forces are on high alert and surveillance is at an all-time high. They will continue to occupy the high peaks until the disengagement talks are completed,” the official added.
Also on the cards is a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) between the two countries to discuss the process of disengagement and de-escalation.
India has accused PLA forces of blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while conversations at military, diplomatic and political levels are in progress. “At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing,” said officials.