No incursion by Chinese soldiers, says Gen Rawat 

Army chief General Bipin Rawat. File photo

Indian Army on Saturday played down the recent news of People's Liberation Army of China staging a “protest” against the celebration of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama's birth anniversary near the de facto border between the two nations at Demchok in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

Gen Bipin Rawat, the chief of the Indian Army, said that the soldiers of the Chinese PLA had not crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and had not intruded into Indian territory.

The Opposition Congress had earlier described the “incursion” by Chinese PLA soldiers into the territory of India as “a matter of grave security concern” and alleged that the ruling BJP's “listless attitude” was “compromising national security”.

“Modi Govt which has baggage of the Doklam debacle must take up this intrusion with China at all levels,”(sic) the Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted on Saturday, referring to June-August 2017 military face-off between India and China at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan.

“You need to dispel this myth that there has been any intrusion or activity by the Chinese that is detrimental to our security,” said the Army Chief.

He, however, added that “the issue” had been “raised” and “sorted out” in a flag meeting that the commanders of the armed forces of the two neighbouring nations later had along the LAC.

“Everything is normal (along the LAC),” added Gen Rawat.

Borders and beyond

The villagers of Kuyul at Fukche in Demchok were celebrating the 84th birth anniversary of Dalai Lama near the LAC on July 6 when some Chinese in civilian attire and a few uniformed soldiers of Chinese PLA came in two vehicles on the other side of the line. They put up a banner that had “Ban all activities to split Tibet” written on it.

Amid confusions over whether the Chinese civilians had intruded into Indian territory, sources in New Delhi said that Chinese soldiers had not crossed over.

Dalai Lama has been living in exile in India since he had fled from Tibet in 1959 to escape the Chinese PLA, which had occupied Tibet that year. Nearly 1,30,000 Tibetans have taken refuge in India over the past 60 years. Beijing has been accusing Dalai Lama of leading a secessionist movement to undermine its sovereignty over Tibet.

China had strongly reacted after India had in July 2017 allowed TGiE chief Lobsang Sangay to perform rituals on the eve of Dalai Lama's birthday.

But New Delhi has been carefully trying to avoid ruffling the feathers of Beijing on the Tibet issue.

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