A year after violent transgressions, India has deployed close to 50,000 additional troops at China border.
According to an exclusive report by Bloomberg, this is a historic, aggressive change in stance towards the neighbouring country. Over the past few months, India has moved troops and fighter jet squadrons to three distinct areas along its border with China, according to the report.
Bloomberg said that India now has roughly 2,00,000 troops focused on the border, which is an increase of more than 40 percent from last year.
Meanwhile, China on Monday said the situation along the Sino-India border is generally stable and both sides are trying to resolve the boundary issue through talks.
Asked about the report that India has redirected at least 50,000 troops to its border with China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing that the situation at China-India border maintains general stability, and the two sides are resolving the boundary issue through negotiation.
Against such background, the words and deeds of relevant important military and government officials and military deployments should be conducive to deescalating and cooling down the situation, and to enhancing mutual trust, rather than the opposite, the spokesman said.
Wang’s remarks also came days after India and China on Friday agreed to hold the next round of military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh amid fresh sparring between the two sides on the prolonged Line of Actual Control (LAC) standoff. At a virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs, the two sides had a “frank exchange" of views and decided to maintain dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable solution for withdrawal of troops in all friction points to enable progress in the overall ties, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi.
In a statement at the end of the talks, the MEA said both sides agreed on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. India and China were locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year. However, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of the Pangong Lake in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks.
The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points. India has been particularly pressing for disengagement of troops in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang. According to military officials, each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive high altitude sector.