In yet another face-off at Ladakh, Chinese troops “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo" on the intervening night of August 29 and 30 but the attempt was thwarted by India, the government said on Monday. “On the night of 29/30 August 2020, PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo," the Indian Army said in a statement.
Army Spokesperson Col Aman Anand said a Brigade Commander level meeting is in progress at Chushul to resolve the issues.
“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground. The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity. A Brigade Commander level Flag Meeting is in progress at Chushul to resolve the issues," the statement added.
The clash between the troops of the two countries is the first since the skirmish on June 15. No injuries have been reported but heavy troop movement was seen in Chushul after the incident.
Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh for over three-and-half months. India has been insisting that China must withdraw its forces from areas between Finger Four and Eight. The mountain spurs in the area are referred to as Fingers.
The formal process of disengagement of troops began on July 6, a day after a nearly two-hour telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on ways to bring down tensions in the area.
In the first round of the Corp commander-level talks on June 6, both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley. However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 in which 20 Indian army personnel were killed. China has not released information on casualties on its side but according to an American intelligence report it was 35. Notably, on August 2, the two armies held the fifth round of Corps commander-level talks in an effort to expedite the disengagement process.
After the Galwan Valley incident, the government has given the armed forces “full freedom" to give a “befitting" response to any Chinese misadventure along the LAC. The Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border following the deadly clashes. The IAF has also moved air defence systems as well as a sizable number of its frontline combat jets and attack helicopters to several key airbases.