China has deployed five militia squads for rapid response at the disputed Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. It has done so to “consolidate the border” and “stabilise Tibet region”, sources said.
“Militia is basically a reserve force of the Chinese’s People Liberation Army. They are deployed during war time situations and help the PLA in its military operations,” said a senior government officer.
The officer also explained that Chinese militia conducts independent operations and provides combat support and manpower to replenish the PLA. “It is an irregular mix of mountaineers, boxers, members of local fight clubs and others. Most of the members are raised from the local population,” said the officer.
It was after their deployments across the LAC that China started making incursion attempts into Indian territories.
China had made provocative military movements to change the status quo at Pangong Tso. However, Indian soldiers were already present at those heights to thwart the PLA’s land-grabbing bid.
On the intervening night of August 29 and August 30, 2020, PLA troops had violated the previous consensus agreed in military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.
“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso, and undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground,” the force said.
The Indian Army also stated that they are committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity through dialogue, but are also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.
North of the Pangong Tso, China has refused to move back from its present military position. China has strengthened their positions between Finger-5 and 8 of the Pangong Lake. The PLA has refused to pull back eastwards from the 8-km stretch it has occupied from Finger-4 to Finger-8 by building scores of new fortifications there since early May. The mountain spurs jutting into the lake are referred to as Fingers in military parlance.
India has asked China to completely withdraw troops from Pangong Tso.
Both the countries have been engaged in the standoff since May. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough.
India has also found that the Chinese side has started troop, artillery and armour build-up in three sectors of the LAC — western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh).
On June 15, twenty Indian soldiers were martyred and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent clash at the Galwan valley.
India on Thursday asked China to show sincerity in expeditiously restoring peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and border areas through complete disengagement and de-escalation in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols.
The two countries have remained locked in a stand-off along the LAC in Ladakh since June this year. A fresh crisis erupted last Sunday when India pre-emptively thwarted Chinese intentions to unilaterally change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong Tso in Eastern Ladakh.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that the government’s position on the recent development has been clearly articulated in a statement made on September 1.
The Indian Defence Ministry on Monday had said that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops violated the previous consensus arrived at the military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo on the night of August 29 and early morning of August 30.
“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangon Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground,” the government had said.
Srivastava reiterated that Chinese actions had caused the recent escalation. “It is clear that the situation we witness over the past four months is a direct result of the actions taken by the Chinese side that sought to effect unilateral change of status quo. These actions resulted in violation of the bilateral agreements and protocol which ensured peace and tranquility in the border areas for close to three decades,” he said.
He said that the ground commanders are still holding discussions to resolve the situation.
“We reiterate the consensus reached between the two foreign ministers and secretaries that the situation in the border should be handled in a responsible manner and either side should not take any provocative action or escalate matters,” the MEA spokesperson said.
Now the way ahead is negotiations, both through diplomatic and military channels, he said, adding that the Indian side is firmly committed to resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful dialogues.
“We therefore strongly urge the Chinese side to sincerely engage the Indian side with the objective of expeditiously restoring the peace and tranquility in the border areas through complete disengagement and de-escalation in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols,” he added.
The Xi Jinping regime had on Monday threatened that the China-India border tensions will “surely escalate this time”, since India “crossed the LAC (Line of Actual Control) at the border and purposely launched provocations”.