Chinese incursion in Ladakh as old as January 2009

According to the contents of a letter sent by Ajeet Kumar Sahu, district magistrate of Leh, to the divisional commissioner of Kashmir on Jan 4 this year, reports of incursions by the Chinese army into the Indian territory had been brought to his notice by shepherds and villagers living close to the international border.

The district magistrate had then deputed a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to verify the reports. The SDM had confirmed that personnel of the Chinese army had warned shepherds on the Indian side of the border to vacate the area or face the consequences.

Alarmingly, the villagers and shepherds had said that the Chinese army had not even said that the area where the shepherds had been grazing their flock of sheep was disputed.

"They claimed the area belonged to China," the district magistrate’s letter said. But defence officials here have still not confirmed the fears voiced by the district magistrate.

The fact that some patrols of the Chinese army had entered the Indian side of the border in Leh and painted some stones and rocks red is being accepted by sources in the army, but no senior defence official is prepared to go on record to confirm the incident.

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