Defence minister Rajnath Singh held a security review meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three services chiefs on Tuesday in the backdrop of heightened tensions with China over the boundary issue that has manifested in a stand-off between the two sides at four places along the border and the line of actual control (LAC), reported ANI.
The meeting follows reports that China may have scaled up the presence of its soldiers to up to 5,000 on its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh sector following incidents of clashes between the two sides. HT reported on May 10 about a flare-up at Naku La in north Sikkim between the two neighbours a day earlier. According to officials, 150 soldiers were reported to be involved in the standoff leading to injuries to four Indian and seven Chinese soldiers.
The above incident took place after around 250 soldiers from the two sides clashed near Pangong Tso–a lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 metres that extends from India to the Tibetan autonomous region– a few days ago on the night of May 5-6, also leading to injuries to scores of troops.
India has accused China of blocking patrol by its troops while China has accused India of transgression into its territory. The incident was also taken note of by the US which criticized the ‘Chinese aggression’.
The current situation is believed to be the worst since the 2017 Doklam standoff that lasted 73 days and dealt a blow to relations between the two sides.
India has also sent military reinforcements to strengthen its defences as Indian and Chinese soldiers remain locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at four locations along the LAC.
Several rounds of talks between local military commanders, the latest in the series taking place on Monday, have failed to end the deadlock that began with a violent clash between rival patrols three weeks ago near Pangong Tso.
One of the officials told HT that India was tracking all aspects of the Chinese deployments and was maintaining parity in troop numbers.
Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had visited Ladakh last week for a review of the situation near Pangong Tso and three pockets in the Galwan Valley region where Chinese troops have pitched close to 100 tents and erected temporary structures.
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The latest standoff is not confined to a small area like Doklam and has triggered an increase in troop numbers on both sides at multiple locations. Experts suggest the likely presence of a greater design behind it. They have also opined that the stalemate would now require political direction and diplomatic intervention to be resolved.