File Photo of army deployments moving towards Ladakh last month

Srinagar: Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China has entered more than 600 meters into the Indian Territory at the Galwan Valley, while its troops have set up camps at Finger Four on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.

This has been revealed by Konchok Stanzin, Executive Councilor who represents Chushul constituency in Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh. It is the same constituency where Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a tense standoff in Eastern Ladakh.

“The information I have is that Chinese PLA has entered 600 to 700 meters into our territory at Galwan valley. Chinese have also crossed into Finger Four. Normally, they did not enter Finger Four. There is a difference in perception between the two armies. India too has claimed Finger 2,” Stanzin told The Kashmir Monitor in an exclusive interview.

Stanzin noted that panic is palpable as there is a huge movement of men and machinery in the area. “Panic is in the air. There is a huge movement of the army in the area. Though there is no habitation near the area, yet the people living along the route are having jitters,” he said.

The closest habitation is 70 kilometres from the area where two armies are facing each other. “There are seven hamlets in the area. They come under two Panchayat Halqas which has a population of 1100 people. The last inhabited village is 70 km ahead of the place where both armies are facing each other in the Galwan valley. The aerial distance between the last inhabited village and the army deployment in Finger Four is around eight kilometres,” he said. 

What has sent shivers is the Chinese presence in the winter grazing lands thus hampering the livelihood of hundreds of shepherds.

“Chinese are putting up at our winter grazing area. This is our lifeline. Our people graze livestock in these areas during winter. People adopt different grazing patterns during the year. During summer, the shepherds migrate to plains for grazing their livestock. During winters, they come to this area for grazing. If the issue is not resolved before winter, the shepherds will face a problem,” Stanzin said.

The Chushul Councilor said the Chinese have no business whatsoever to breach the LAC. “It is our area and Chinese should vacate. There is no panic in Leh per se. Agriculture activities are going and construction is also taking place in Leh,” he said.

This is not for the first time that there has been a face-off between the Chinese and Indian army on the LAC in Ladakh.  On the intervening night of April 15 and 16, 2013, PLA crossed 19 kilometres deep inside the Indian Territory at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector on LAC in Ladakh and set up the tented posts.  The 20-day old standoff ended on May 5, 2013, when troops from both sides withdrew to the pre-incursion positions on the line of actual control.

 On November 3, 2016, Indian and Chinese troops were again locked in a tense standoff along the Line of Actual Control in the Demchok sector of Ladakh after the People Liberation Army (PLA) objected to the construction of a developmental project.

 In 2012, the Chinese army forced the Jammu and Kashmir government to suspend the work on a prestigious irrigation scheme at the Kuyul-Thuksey area of Nyoma block in Leh district of Ladakh division.

Similarly, in 2010, the Chinese army had compelled Jammu and Kashmir government to suspend work on the passenger sheds which were being constructed near the Sino-Indo border in the Demchok area in Leh district of Ladakh region.

India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Ladakh shares 646 Km of the LAC with the neighboring country. Jammu and Kashmir is the only place in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China.

Northern Command of the army is responsible for the security of borders with Pakistan and China as well as the counter militancy and counter-infiltration operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

The army is manning the 772 Km of Line of Control, 122 Km of Actual group position line (AGPL) at Siachin, and 646 Km of Line of actual control (LAC) with China. BSF has entrusted the job of guarding 192 Km of the International border (IB) with Pakistan.

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