The Army is waiting for instructions from the government to resolve the Ladakh crisis as two lengthy flag-meetings with Chinese authorities in the last 72 hours fail to defuse tension along the border.
Even though border guards from both sides on Thursday afternoon went back a little bit from their previously held position at Chumar, there is no reduction in the number of troops as yet. This implies that the situation on the ground remains more or less same.
“It is no longer a tactical issue,” said a source. Officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and Defence are understood to be in touch with their Chinese counterparts to explore ways to end the crisis that lingers at two places – Chumar and Demchok–in eastern Ladakh.
This time, the face-off is different from other Chinese incursions reported from other parts of the Line of Actual Control in the past.
At Chumar, Indian troops blocked a Chinese road building effort in the disputed territory, apprehending they might extend the same road to what is perceived as Indian territory.
However, PTI added that Chinese troops began withdrawing from Chumar at 9:45 pm on Friday, prompting the Army to reduce its presence in the area.
Located at a height of about 15,000 ft, the confrontation spot is a mountain pass known as 30R on the Army map, overseeing Chepzi area inside Tibet and provides a clear view of Chinese military movement. The People’s Liberation Army has constructed a road up to the base of the pass.
When the Chinese brought heavy duty road construction equipment apparently in an effort to extend the road, Indian troops went all out to stop the work. This led to the stand off.
As Indian troops occupy the dominating heights, the Chinese troops also wanted India to pull back.
“China now wants to claim 80 square km area called Tible-Mane under its control,” former diplomat Phunchok Stobdan, who is currently a senior fellow with Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, Delhi told Deccan Herald.
The area is economically important as it is a pasture land. This area was free from controversy till recently. Wedged between Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, this area was recognised as the international boundary and not as the Line of Actual Control between China and India.