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Outmanoeuvred by Indian Troops, China Sends Additional Forces Near Chushul in Ladakh

An Indian Army truck crosses Chang la pass near Pangong Lake in Ladakh region, India. (AP File Photo)

An Indian Army truck crosses Chang la pass near Pangong Lake in Ladakh region, India. (AP File Photo)

Army Chief General MM Naravane on Thursday had carried out a comprehensive review of the security situation in the eastern Ladakh region.

China has moved additional forces near the tense Chushul sector in eastern Ladakh after Indian troops occupied all the critical heights to pre-empt any misadventure by Chinese soldiers.

According to government officials, Beijing was completely taken by surprise at the way India outmanoeuvred the PLA to occupy multiple heights near the southern bank of Pangong Tso over the weekend. “The situation all along the LAC is tense, with heavy deployments by both sides. But it’s like a tinderbox in eastern Ladakh,” a senior officer told the Times of India.

Army Chief General MM Naravane on Thursday had carried out a comprehensive review of the security situation in the eastern Ladakh region, days after China made fresh attempts to change the status quo along the southern bank of Pangong lake triggering further escalation in tensions, military sources said.

On the first day of his two-day visit to Ladakh, Gen Naravane held a series of meetings with top commanders about the evolving situation in the region as well as on India's overall combat readiness to deal with any eventualities, they said.

The Army Chief also visited a key forward location where he interacted with a sizeable number of troops. "Gen Naravane carried out a comprehensive review of the security scenario in eastern Ladakh," said a source.

Tensions flared up again in eastern Ladakh after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake four days back when the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military talks to resolve the festering border row.

India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has strongly objected to India's move. But India has maintained that the heights are on its side of the LAC, according to government sources.

India has also rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following the Chinese attempts. At a weekly media briefing on Thursday, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the border tension in Ladakh over the past four months is a "direct result" of Chinese actions aimed at effecting unilateral change in the status quo of the region.

He asserted that the only way forward to resolve it was through negotiations. On Monday, the Indian Army said the Chinese military carried out "provocative military movements" to "unilaterally" change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30 but the attempt was thwarted by the Indian troops.

Srivastava on Tuesday said the Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) was engaged in "provocative action" again a day earlier when the ground commanders of the two sides were holding talks to ease the situation. Following the attempts, the Indian Army strengthened its presence in at least three strategic heights in the southern bank of Pangong lake.

Some "readjustments" in deployment of troops were also carried out on the northern bank of the Pangong lake on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as part of precautionary measures, the sources said.