Indian Army foils Chinese incursion in Ladakh

New Delhi: The Indian Army on Tuesday foiled a Chinese incursion along the banks of Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh resulting in stone-pelting that caused minor injuries to soldiers on both sides, officials said. India and China are separated by the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tried to enter the Indian side in two areas—Finger Four and Finger Five—twice between 6 am and 9 am on Tuesday. But on both the occasions their attempts were thwarted by alert Indian troops, they said.

After Chinese troopers found their path blocked by Indian soldiers who formed a human chain, they began hurling stones, prompting a swift retaliation by Indian border guards.

Personnel from both sides received minor injuries and the situation was brought under control after the customary banner drill under which both sides hold banners before stepping back to their respective positions.

An Indian Army spokesman in New Delhi declined to comment on the incident which came amid the continued Doklam standoff in Sikkim sector.

Chinese troops had managed to enter up to Finger Four area in the region from where they were sent back. This area has been a bone of contention between India and China as both claim it to be a part of their territory. When the Indian side staked claim to the area during negotiations in late 1990s, the Chinese army constructed a metal-top road and insisted it was part of Aksai Chin, which is under the latter’s control, officials said. China had constructed a road up to Finger Four which falls under Siri Jap area and is 5 km deep into the Line of Actual Control.

Earlier, the Chinese patrols used to come frequently from the northern and southern banks of this lake, whose 45km stretch is on the Indian side while 90km is on the Chinese side. Indian forces are now armed with high-speed interceptor boats, bought from the US, which can accommodate nearly 15 soldiers and are equipped with radars, infra-red and GPS systems. These boats are said to be as good as Chinese vessels and are used to conduct reconnaissance and area domination patrols.

The situation along the banks of the Pangong Tso has always remained volatile with Chinese troops being intercepted by Indian Army patrol several times after the three-week long stand-off in the Depsang plains of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in May 2013.