NEW DELHI: The Chushul subsector in eastern Ladakh remained tense on Tuesday, with Chinese troops within firing range of Indian soldiers who have occupied heights along a key ridgeline. Adding to the grim picture, military talks made little progress. India said that the Chinese tried to again engage in provocative action on Monday while discussions were on to de-escalate the situation adding that PLA’s attempts were thwarted by defensive action in the Chushul subsector.
Sources said that troops were engaged in close confrontation around a feature known as ‘Black Top’, with the advantage strongly in favour of Indian soldiers who have taken dominating positions on a ridgeline that extends from the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso to the Spanggur gap. The distance between troops in at least one location is barely a few hundred metres, adding to the border tension. Forward located troops are also within heavy weapons range on both sides.
On Monday, Chinese troops attempted to take up positions closer to Indian deployments at the heights but were dissuaded from closing in. “Chinese troops were observed trying to approach our positions but they were warned from a distance not to get closer. Clear announcements were made using mega phones and they were stopped from moving in,” officials said.
As ET reported earlier, Indian troops have taken dominating positions along the southern bank of Pangong and have carried out deployments in Chushul to block possible attempts by the PLA to move in troops. They include heights overlooking the Spanggur gap, which is also being defended by T90 tanks and positions at Rezang La and Rechin La (also known as Reqin La).
While military-level talks continued, sources said that they were not expected to make much headway and diplomatic channels may be required to defuse the situation. A series of high-level meetings were held in South Block on Monday and Tuesday, in which defence minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, CDS Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs reviewed the situation.
Indian troops remained on alert at Chushul to thwart Chinese attempts to breach the Line of Actual Control. Sources said surveillance equipment set up by the Chinese were dismantled from key heights in the area. Besides the Chushul subsector, there is a high level of alertness at the Depsang plains near Daulat Beg Oldie where tensions have been high since May after Chinese troops blocked Indian patrols at three points.
Courtesy – economictimes