Chinese troops 18 km inside India: Govt

Chinese troops 18 km inside India: Govt

Oppn wants PM, law minister to resign

Chinese troops 18 km inside India: Govt

A day after a standing committee on defence demanded information on the Chinese incursion, Defence Secretary Sashi Kant Sharma briefed members on the “face-to-face” situation at Raki Nalla in the Depsang valley, which, according to New Delhi, is more than 18 km inside the Indian territory.

As the Chinese troops showed no sign of pulling out from eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister A K Antony on Friday reviewed his options with Army chief Gen Bikram Singh and took Parliament into confidence by sharing information with the House panel.

The briefing, however, failed to impress Parliamentarians who wanted more information. A second meeting is scheduled for April 30, by which the Army does not expect any change in the ground situation.

The members sought details on the two flag meetings between India and China and the issues discussed. Moreover, they wanted the government to elaborate on steps taken to de-escalate the situation.

The government has resorted to diplomatic options to iron out the rare situation, which is the first occupation by Chinese troops inside the Indian territory since the 1986 Sumdorong Chu incident in Arunachal Pradesh.

Even though erstwhile Army chief Gen K Sundarji immediately airlifted two divisions of the Army to occupy vantage points around that area (Operation Falcon), it took nine years of diplomatic efforts for China to vacate the area in 1995. And that too only after India vacated its own posts.

Officials are of the opinion that China is prepared for a prolonged stay in the area, which may be a “tactical” move on the part of Beijing and  it was planned at a higher level within the Chinese government.

“The troops are not showing any aggressive and unfriendly behaviour. But they came well -prepared to stay for long,” said an official.

Though there are military options like increasing Indian presence in that area, there is no indication from the government if any military action is being contemplated.

The measures, which Antony discussed with the Army chief and senior officials, are also aimed at plugging  loopholes in Chumar, Spanggur gap and areas surrounding the Depsang valley in the strategically crucial east Ladakh.

The Chinese are in better positions in these two regions for quick movement because of the flat terrain and superior infrastructure including all-weather roads. The Indians rely on air maintenance.

The Indian Air Force on Friday resumed its supply to Daulat Beg Oldie – an IAF air strip close to the Chinese camp – and other nearby posts using its Mi-17 V5 choppers. The supply was suspended temporarily after the Chinese intrusion.

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