Chinese intrusion in another strategic position in Ladakh — Depsang plains: Report

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As the tense standoff continues with China in parts of eastern Ladakh, in Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, and Pangong Tso along the Line of Control, Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has crossed the border in another strategic area to the north, the Depsang plains, reported the Indian Express (IE).

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on 19 June after an all-party meeting that there are or have been “no incursions”. On 15 June, at least twenty Indian army personnel were killed by the PLA in a violent faceoff in Galwan. India claimed both sides suffered casualties, however, Beijing didn’t confirm any.

The newspaper claimed that this intrusion is seen as another attempt by the Chinese to shift the LAC further west on the disputed boundary.

Around 30 kilometers south-east from the important airstrip of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the Chinese army has moved and deployed in large numbers up to a place called Y-junction or Bottleneck on the Depsang plains, the report said. 

Quoting unnamed sources, the IE reported that the Chinese deployments include troops, heavy vehicles, specialist military equipment.

Also, it is the same area where the Chinese had pitched tents after an ingress in April 2013. The standoff between the soldiers on both sides had then lasted three weeks and the status quo ante was restored after diplomatic talks, the report added.

The army’s media wing also declined to comment on the issue when they were contacted by the newspaper. However, an unnamed officer said, “The report can neither be confirmed nor denied.”

Bottleneck is known as Y-junction because the track coming from Burtse forks into two tracks, one going northwards along the Raki Nala to Patrolling Point-10 (PP-10) and the other south-eastward towards PP-13, reported IE. These two tracks are followed by Indian patrols on foot up to PP-10, PP-11, PP-11A, PP-12 and PP-13.

Now, if China is able to link up from PP-10 to PP-13 via Bottleneck, it could easily shift the LAC further west of the present Indian Limit of Patrolling (LoP). “This would deny India access to a significant part of the LAC close to the DBO airfield and bring the Chinese closer to the strategic DSDBO road,” Sushant Singh wrote in the report.

Although India’s Ministry of External Affairs has denied any incursions or China occupying any territory of India’s, there have been multiple contradictory reports in national and international newspapers. In the past, too, the IE claimed that there were 157 transgressions in 2019, up from eighty-three in 2018 and seventy-five in 2017.

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