September 2019 News

Tension De-escalates After Delegation Talks

12 September 2019
The Tribune
Arteev Sharma

Srinagar: A fresh stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops near the northern bank of the Pangong lake in the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh led to tension between the two sides for a day on Wednesday. The Army, however, claimed that the face-off was resolved and tension was de-escalated after delegation-level talks between the two sides last evening. The Ladakh administration has sought a report of the incident and it sent a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM)-level officer to the site 'to ascertain the factual position' and submit a report of it. According to sources in Ladakh, the heated exchange between the two sides started when the Chinese troops objected to patrol by Indian soldiers along the northern bank of the lake. 'The tension escalated after the two sides called in reinforcement. The standoff continued till late evening when both the sides decided to hold delegation-level talks to resolve the matter amicably,' the sources said. Sachin Kumar Vaishya, District Magistrate Leh, said he had sent a SDM-level officer to find out the reasons for the face-off. 'It is premature to comment on the issue at this moment. We have a sent a SDM-level officer to the site to ascertain the reasons for the standoff. We can share more details only after the officer submit his details,' the District Magistrate said. Saugat Biswas, Divisional Commissioner, Ladakh, however, said he had no detail of the incident and described it as 'purely a defence matter'. While the Army officers in J&K preferred not to speak on the issue, Army sources in New Delhi claimed, 'The matter has been de-escalated and disengaged fully after the delegation-level talks yesterday. This occurs due to differing perceptions of LAC (Line of Actual Control). There are established mechanisms to resolve such occurrences'. The relations between the Indian and Chinese governments turned bitter last month when Beijing had said it was concerned over India's decision to revoke the Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir and added it was 'unacceptable' that New Delhi had changed Ladakh's status. China reacted to India's decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories - J&K and Ladakh. This is not the first time that a stand-off has been witnessed between two sides near Ladakh's Pangong lake. In August 2017, a video of a stand-off between soldiers of the two sides was widely circulated on social media, showing many soldiers from two countries punching and kicking each other and throwing stones. The incident had taken place on Independence Day when the Chinese troops allegedly tried to enter Indian terrain along the banks of the lake, but were stopped by Indian troops. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km Line of Actual Control (LAC). On July 6, China's People's Liberation Army men in civvies had intruded 7-km deep into the Dohla area of eastern Ladakh for two consecutive days and put their flags to disrupt the birthday celebrations of exiled spiritual and political Tibetan leader Dalai Lama.