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Indian army to continue further fortification of LAC

Indian army to continue further fortification of LAC
While a large number of questions remain unanswered at the end of the three-week long military stand-off between India and China on a stretch of icy desert in Ladakh, one issue is clear. The government has still not asked the army to stop constructions near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is related to fortification of the boundary.

A highly-placed source in the government had told some media outlets  on Sunday night that there were talks of quid pro quos – give and take – between the two sides, only after which the Chinese border guards withdrew to their previous position near the Chip Chap river in Aksai Chin area.

The Indian troops, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Ladakh Scouts have returned to Burtse, west of the Shyok river.

The Ladakh Scouts have remained in the area to necessarily contain any further ‘ingress’ by the Chinese troops. A senior army official said that one of the key lessons learnt from the episode is that, there should be more frequent patrolling of all these vulnerable areas.

Considering the fact that the Chinese troops did not seek to escalate the situation, the Indian troops also did not have to exchange fire in the tense 20-day, face-to-face passive confrontation. Though the army claims that it had a number of options ready to evict the Chinese troops forcibly, none of those plans came into play as the government sought to defuse the situation through the joint mechanism, and other diplomatic channels.

It is not clear yet, why the Chinese troops sought to lay claim to the area, fully knowing that the Indian side will have to react, possibly with force. Also, there is no clarity from the Indian government , as to what made the Chinese withdraw.

The post-mortem of this development in the Sino-Indian relationship is yet to begin. Once it does in the next few days, a lot of critical light could shine on the ways Xi Jinping-Li Keqiang leadership look at issues between neighbours. Xi is known for his close links with the Chinese armed forces. His wife, Peng Liyuan, was a major general of the PLA.
Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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