File photo of Pangong lake

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s morale booster visit to Leh notwithstanding, Ladakhis believe the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is very tense, and the Chinese army has entered eight-kilometre into the Indian Territory in Pangong Tso.

“It seems the situation is very serious. Chinese are talking of de-escalation, but they are fortifying their positions on the ground,” Chering Dorjay, former Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, told The Kashmir Monitor.

 

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Leh to review the security situation amid the border standoff with China and the progress in talks with the Chinese military.

Dorjay said the Chinese army has put up a huge board between Finger Four and Five on the Indian Territory at Pangong Tso. . “They have inscribed ‘Tungu’ in Chinese. Tungu in the Chinese language means China. Plus they have also drawn China map on the board,” he said.

India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Ladakhshares 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. Leh-based 14 corps of the army is responsible for the security of LAC, Line of Control (LoC), and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) at Siachen.

“The area between Finger Four and Eight is our winter pasture. Pangong Tso Lake freezes in winter. The ice is so thick that one can drive a truck over it. So our shepherds use this lake as a shortcut to reach the pasture. They return in spring before the ice starts melting. Now that pasture is gone,” said Dorjay.

Former Chief Executive Councilor said there is panic among the people living on the LAC. “People living on the LAC are very worried The situation is equally tense in Chushul.  Our shepherds go to the area to graze their animals. Since the standoff, they are not allowed. In case war breaks out, these villages will be evacuated. But it is not possible to leave without animals,” he said.

Dorjay said reports coming from Galwan valley is equally worrisome. “The situation is very bad in Galwan valley too. People are not allowed to go near these areas. Reports however pouring in said the situation is not good,” he said.

Even common Ladakhis have posted videos on the social media flagging Chinese incursions. “They have entered into Ladakh. They might reach our village if concrete steps are not taken. Please do sometimes. Please do not abandon Ladakh. We are Indians. Give us guns. Even double-barrel guns will suffice.  We will kill the Chinese if they enter,” said Angdo Sonam on Facebook.

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