China hasn’t withdrawn an inch it has occupied in Ladakh: Report

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On Friday, 13 June, Indian Army chief general claimed that a series of meetings between India and China’s military commanders has resulted in “a lot of disengagement” and “everything is fine on borders”. However, China has not withdrawn an inch, or withdrawn its claim over the territory it has occupied, reported Business Standard.

Instead, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “is only strengthening its hold on 60-odd square kilometres of disputed territory that it has illegally occupied,” the report claimed.

Last Friday, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat and the army, navy and air force chiefs to review the standoff on eastern Ladakh border.

On Tuesday, Major General Abhijit Bapat, who commands the infantry division that defends the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in this sector, held a meeting with a Chinese general. This meeting was also held 3.5 kilometers inside Indian-claimed territory, the report added, on the west of LAC.

“Indian Army and Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) situation reports (sitreps), intelligence reports and satellite photos show that PLA troops have not pulled back even in areas where Indian troops have been deployed to physically block further Chinese ingress,” stated the report.

Indicating that China is preparing for escalation, the PLA has deployed artillery guns in at least six locations between Pangong Tso and the Gogra Heights, on the Chinese side of the LAC. At each of these locations, the PLA is also building new hut-like structures, suggesting the PLA is preparing for a long confrontation.

At the northern bank of the Pangong Tso, too, the Chinese are making it clear they have no intention of withdrawing from Finger 4 – which the PLA is now treating as the LAC. The Finger 4 is 8 kilometres west into the Indian territory, which is claimed to begin at Finger 8. 

The report further claimed that the Chinese soldiers at Finger-4 are continuously preparing their defences – digging trenches and building bunkers. These are visible from the blocking positions that Indian soldiers have taken up between Finger 4 and Finger 3, just a few metres away from the ITBP’s Administrative Post.

“Chinese troops have also deployed on the dominating crests of the five ridgelines that run down to the Pangong Tso – Finger 4 to Finger 8. These commanding heights are now being fortified with bunkers and defences built with cement and stone. The PLA has built huts as in these locations as well,” it said.

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