China mobilized troops along LAC in eastern Ladakh in garb of wargames

During the most recent discussion, India also raised objections with China over its construction activities in areas along the Depsang plains and DBO sector.

Satellite image by Maxar Technologies shows PLA base in Galwan Valley on May 22, 2020 (Photo Credits: AP)

India has accused China of mobilising troops along the border in eastern Ladakh under the garb of military exercises in April. Buildup on the Indian side was in response to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) mobilization, India told China.

During the discussion, India also raised objections to Chinese construction activities in areas along the Depsang plains and DBO sector. “We have told China that under the garb of war games, they had mustered heavy armament and deployment of troops along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh which could be traced even by commercial satellites,” top sources told Aaj Tak and India Today.

The Indian side has been working out a disengagement process at key friction points in eastern Ladakh, including Galwan valley (PP-14), PP-15, Hot Springs, Gogra and Finger area.

Following several rounds of discussions, both sides have now agreed to carry out a phased disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This will require troops from India and China to move back from their respective positions leading to the creation of temporary ‘no-patrolling’ zones. Such activities will ensure that violent face-offs such as the ones reported from the Finger area on May 18-19 and Galwan Valley on June 15 are not repeated.

Sources say the Chinese Army started its summer wargames with troops and weaponry in areas east of the highway connecting Xinjiang and Tibet. However, the troops and equipment were moved quietly towards India along with a large number of trucks that were used to transport soil to equip a nearby civilian airfield for military purposes.

The Chinese buildup includes two divisions. Over 20,000 troops are deployed near Indian Territory in eastern Ladakh. At the same time, a reserve division of more than 10,000 PLA soldiers is stationed at the rear position in northern Xinjiang from where they can reach front areas within 48 hours using the easy terrain and infrastructure available on the Chinese side.

In response to the mobilization of Chinese troops, India has also deployed more than 35,000 troops in Ladakh. This includes two additional mountain divisions that have been drawn in from nearby areas. Additional divisions include a formation that spends at least six to seven months each year in extreme weather conditions exclusive to Ladakh. Most units in these formations are familiar with warfare in high-altitude areas.

The Chinese troops had begun amassing in April-May of this year. Galwan valley and adjoining patrolling points where the Chinese landed with heavy vehicles and armoured regiments were areas that witnessed the first face-off between the two armies.

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