Nearly a year after Indian and Chinese forces came face to face in a standoff on the Sino-Indian border during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Delhi visit, another face-off is threatening to precipitate in northern Ladakh. Indian and Chinese forces are currently locked in a confrontation in Burtse area of Depsang plains in Ladakh.
According to sources in the home ministry, the bone of contention is a surveillance structure being erected by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China very close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, sources said, objected to the structure and, along with the Army, stopped its construction on Friday.
The intervention led to the PLA calling for reinforcements, which was followed by Indian forces sending more men to the area. Sources said the two forces are still locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation and efforts are being made to defuse the situation.
Burtse is to the east of Daulat Beg Oldie Sector where Indian forces and the PLA were locked in a 21-day standoff in 2013.
On April 15, 2013, a platoon-sized contingent of the Chinese PLA set up a camp in Raki Nula, 30 km south of Daulat Beg Oldie near the Aksai Chin-Ladakh LAC. Indian forces responded to the Chinese presence by quickly establishing their own encampment 300 metres away.
Negotiations between China and India lasted nearly three weeks, during which the Chinese position was reinforced and supported by trucks and helicopters. The dispute was resolved on May 5, after which both sides withdrew.
Chinese and Indian patrols in this disputed area are common, but both Chinese and Indian military forces have avoided establishing permanent bases and fortifications in the region. As part of the resolution, the Indian military agreed to dismantle some military structures 250 km to the south in the disputed Chumar sector that the Chinese perceived as threatening.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines