Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh has been repeatedly targeted by Chinese PLA troops, seeking to dislodge Indian troops from vantage points. Almost 14 months ago, when India and China were preparing to hold the 13th round of military talks to try and resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh, their troops jostled each other in the Yangtse area before disengaging.
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The Indian Express reported in October 2021 that the Chinese came to Yangtse in sizeable strength, close to 100 troops, and were confronted by an Indian patrolling unit. An officer said there was “some pushing around” but local commanders stepped in to bring the situation under control.
The Tawang sector is dominated by Indian troops who can spot Chinese patrols when they come forward. Every time movement is noticed, Indian troops move for a faceoff. In 2016, around 250 Chinese troops showed up, crossing a point which India says marks the LAC.
Yangtse is one of the 25 contested areas along the 3488-km Line of Actual Control between the two countries, stretching from the Western Sector to Middle Sector to Eastern Sector.
A majority of these areas – Yangtse included – were identified by the two sides during multiple meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) in the 1990s, during exchange of maps for the Middle Sector in 2000, and comparison of maps for the Western Sector in 2002. The remaining contested areas were identified over a period of time due to PLA actions.
These contested areas used to number 23 before the Chinese incursions in Galwan and Hot Springs in 2020.
During the expert group meeting in 2002, maps for the LAC in the Western Sector pertaining to eastern Ladakh were to be exchanged. But the Chinese side refused to formally exchange the maps, effectively stalling the process of clarifying the LAC mentioned in the 1993 Agreement for maintaining peace and tranquility on the border that was signed between Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and Chinese Premier Li Peng.