Ladakh: Indian and Chinese forces had a brief face-off in the north bank of Pangong lake in Ladakh. Highly-placed sources told India Today that the incident took place early Tuesday morning and lasted for about half-an-hour until both sides pulled back.
The incident comes at a time when both nations have been facing a continued stand-off at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction in Doka La (Doklam). Sources say that it is believed that the Chinese patrols lost their way due to bad weather conditions but it ended up with heated exchanges between the two sides resulting in stone pelting as well that caused minor injuries to people on both sides.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces were close to two areas: Finger Four and Finger Five. India claims the area till Finger Eight but controls and dominates up to Finger Four. The situation was brought under control after thirty minutes of face-off, when both sides held their banners indicating either side to pull back to their respective positions.
The border stand-off took place on the occasion of Indian Independence Day when as practice Border Personnel Meetings (BPM) take place at five points across Line of Actual Control (LAC) and sweets are exchanged between Indian and Chinese forces. Instead, India Today has learnt that no BPM took place. Indian soldiers had gone with sweets to Nathu La but the Chinese didn’t turn up.
Earlier in the week, India Today had also reported about the Chinese PLA having started construction of a bridge near the LAC in Ladakh. Chief Executive Councillor Dr Sonam Dawa Lopo, while speaking to India Today, said, “We will raise the issue with the Government and the Army. They should immediately object to the Chinese construction on LAC”.
With increased tensions between India and China due to Doklam, the entire LAC remains volatile including Pangong lake, whose 45-km stretch is on the Indian side while 90-km is on the Chinese side.
This comes at a time when India and China have been locked in a standoff at the Doklam plateau for over eight weeks. Beijing wants to construct a road through the plateau, which both Bhutan and China claim. India has objected to the construction, and has deployed the Army to prevent it.
The Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held a flag meet at Nathu La last week to sort things out, but in vain. Both sides stuck to their stated positions. China wants the Indian Army to withdraw from Doklam, and India asked China to stop building the road.