LAHDC Shoots SOS To Delhi, JK Govt

1 December 2009
Rising Kashmir
Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: After Chinese Army stopped road construction in some areas of Ladakh that borders China, the local administration in Leh is panicky, alleging New Delhi of downplaying the “Sino-aggression”. The experts described the intervention of Chinese army in stopping the work as a well-calculated “military provocation”. “The Government of India is not reacting at all,” Chief Executive Councilor, Leh, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Cherring Dorjay told Rising Kashmir. “The Chinese action is unprovoked and unacceptable.” He said the residents of Ladakh are angry that the government was not taking any action against “unjustified” aggression of the Chinese army. “All incursions and road constructions were stopped by the Chinese army in undisputed areas,” Dorjay said. “As a result, we’re slowly losing our land to China.” He said the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the army manning the posts along the area were not helping the residents. “They remain unmoved as nothing happens,” Dorjay said. “If India will not deal with the problem sternly, the day is not far when China will occupy our land where we have been residing since ages.” He said Ladakhis kept the government informed about the Chinese aggression. Tracing the recent events of the Chinese army warning the people to stop the road construction in Damchuk area, close to Chinese border, Dorjay said they had already informed the Deputy Commissioner and Divisional Commissioner about the incident. “The incident occurred a month back in Damchuk-Nyoma area,” he said. “The residents were constructing road under National Rural Employment Grameen scheme from Damchuk to upward to their summer pastures. The total distance of the road was 8 km.” He said as the villagers completed road construction of 4 km, the Chinese army from nearby barracks appeared and ‘warned’ residents not to construct the road. “They told the residents, it is their (Chinese) land. So it is better to stop the work or face dire consequences,” Dorjay said. “They complained to LAHDC in writing and shot a letter to the Divisional Commissioner about the incident.” Dorjay said subsequently LAHDC informed the State government, but nothing happened after that. “GOI should have taken a stern position. So far they haven’t done anything,” he said. “If China had objection, they could have arranged a flag meeting with the army or expressed their concern through the Ministry of External Affairs. Instead Chinese army is issuing diktats. Indians, apart from raising hue and cry in the media, have closed their eyes.” P Stobdan, an expert on Ladakh and Chinese affairs said: “Chinese army forcing stopping of work on the road was a calculated military provocation.” He said: “The GOI should address the problem instead of downplaying the incidents in Ladakh. It is a matter of grave concern.” However, an army official in the Northern Command, who is not authorized to speak to the media, said China registered their objection on road construction during one of the flag meetings between Indian and Chinese army officials. “We informed the State government who closed the work,” the official said. However, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and ruling National Conference President Farooq Abdullah ruled out any adventure by China to close the road. He said the work on the road was stopped due to harsh weather. This was not the first incident of its kind where Chinese army made incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Earlier in Damachuk and Nyoma areas, bordering China, the Chinese army took over some land in these areas and painted slogans ‘Go back Indians’ with red color on rocks. Following that, Government of India raised objections, resulting in strained relations between the two countries. The Indian army mobilized troops along the LAC, however, China refuted allegations terming them “baseless”. This year in May, there were reports that Chinese helicopters had made incursions into the air space that comes under the Indian control. On the other hand, the Indian Army, fearing any Chinese adventure, started revamping its logistics along the LAC. The Indian Air Force, this year opened two major airbases along the Chinese border for quick troop movement. Indian army is also constructing roads along the border for efficient connectivity. The Chinese Army had already constructed roads and dumped modern weaponry in their area. Besides, the Indian Army had also increased its deployment along the Chinese border.