LESS THAN two months after New Delhi and Beijing agreed to disengage at Doklam and moved their troops away from the faceoff site at the trijunction with Bhutan, there was a sudden spike in transgressions by China into Indian territory in October-November, according to records available with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
As many as 31 incidents of transgressions were recorded in October-November in primarily three sectors — Depsang Area, Trig Height and Thakung Post (Pangong Lake). In many cases, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops entered as far as 20 km into Indian territory, according to the ITBP, deployed on the India-China border.
The first transgression, according to the records, took place in Ladakh sector on October 12, when PLA personnel entered Trig Height area by vehicle at 5 am and first drove 2 km inside Indian territory. Two hours later, they drove another 6 km. Days later, they again entered 6 km into Indian territory, by boats this time, on the Pangong Lake on October 14 and 21.
Four transgressions were reported near Pangong Lake between October 14 to November 3, with PLA troops either coming in vehicles or boats.
On October 31 and November 5, PLA personnel entered 19 km into Indian territory at Pangong Lake area. These transgressions, according to ITBP records, were reported at 2.30 pm and 12.55 am respectively.
Some transgressions were reported in Uttarakhand too. On October 11, PLA soldiers are reported to have flown into Indian territory. They stayed there for a while, before going back. Barahoti, an open pasture, is a disputed area on the India-China border where frequent transgressions by the Chinese are reported, said officials.
In Arunachal Pradesh, similar incidents of transgression were reported in Dichu and Asaphila areas on November 1 and 2. When contacted, an ITBP spokesperson refused to comment on the recent transgressions. “There is no need to be alarmed. Such incidents are regular. The Chinese troops come and leave. The problem will start if they camp at some place,” said a senior ITBP officer. However, senior Home Ministry officials said they have asked their counterparts in the External Affairs and Defence ministries to take up the matter with Beijing.
Earlier this year, Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a standoff at Doklam for almost two-and-a-half months. Nearly 350 Indian soldiers had moved into the plateau on June 18 to stop the Chinese from constructing a motorable road from a turning point in the plateau to Jampheri ridge in Bhutan. The Chinese had also moved their troops such that the soldiers from two sides were in a faceoff situation about 150 m away. This standoff was a few metres away from the Indian military post at Doka La.
A thaw started taking place from August 14 as diplomatic activity picked up pace, eventually leading to a disengagement on August 28. On September 7, as first reported by The Indian Express, both sides moved away by 150 metres from the faceoff site as the first major step in the disengagement.