Kashmir Indepth

Situation in Ladakh turns grim as China claims ‘sovereignty over Galwan valley’

‘China has entered 8-kms inside Pangong, things will not get settled easily’: Chering Dorjay

Suhail Khan

Srinagar, June 17 (KINS): The situation in Ladakh is turning grim as China claims sovereignty over Galwan Valley and according to the top ladakh leader, China soldiers have entered eight-kilometres inside Pangong on the Indian side.

At least 20 Indian army men were killed on Monday night after their clash with Chinese soldiers.

The clashes broke out after Indian army moved to remove a People’s Liberation Army tent set up near a position code-named Patrolling Point 14, inside territory on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.

“I don’t think things will get settled easily. China is claiming sovereignty over Galwan. They have also entered eight kilometers inside Pangong on our side.  They have also made permanent structures there.  I don’t know whether things will be settled by talks or by small scale war. I think this stand-off will continue till Chinese troopers don’t vacate these places,” former Chief Executive Councilor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Chering Dorjay, told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

Dorjey, who was the minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led cabinet in Jammu and Kashmir and recently resigned from the BJP said, “The commanders of both armies had decided they will retreat 2.5 kilometres from the existing position in Galwan. When Indian army personnel went there, the Chinese troopers were ready there and attacked our army with sharp edged weapons.”

The Galwan Valley area comes under Sub Sector North (SSN), which lies just to the east of the Siachen glacier and is the only point that provides direct access to Aksai China from India.

Asked that a Chinese expert has linked the stand-off between Indian and Chinese army with abrogation of Article 370, he replied, “Yes some people link it with Article 370 because China has objected to it. China has also objected to construction of roads there.”

Twenty Indian Army men, including a Colonel, were killed in the clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley on Monday night, which is the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff between the two countries.

A large number of Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in Galwan Valley and certain other areas of eastern Ladakh for the last five weeks, including in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh.

Monday’s face-off was the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while over 300 Chinese army personnel were killed in the confrontation.

Meanwhile, China on Wednesday claimed that the sovereignty over the Galwan Valley area in Ladakh “always belonged to it” but underlined that Beijing does not wish to see “more clashes,” after the militaries of the two countries were engaged in the biggest confrontation in over five decades.

At a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Spokesman Zhao Lijian said the “sovereignty of the Galwan Valley area has always belonged to China,” echoing a statement of the Chinese military on Tuesday, opening up another dispute.

This is not for the first time that there has been a face-off between the Chinese and the Indian army on the LAC in Ladakh.  On the intervening night of April 15 and 16, 2013, PLA crossed 19 kilometres deep inside the Indian Territory at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector on LAC in Ladakh and set up tented posts.  The 20-day old standoff ended on May 5, 2013, when troops from both sides withdrew to the pre-incursion positions on the line of actual control.

On November 3, 2016, Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a tense standoff along the Line of Actual Control in the Demchok sector of Ladakh after the People Liberation Army (PLA) objected to the construction of a developmental project.

In 2012, the Chinese army forced the Jammu and Kashmir government to suspend the work on a prestigious irrigation scheme at the Kuyul-Thuksey area of Nyoma block in Leh district of Ladakh division.

In 2010, the Chinese army forced the Jammu and Kashmir government to suspend work on the passenger sheds which were being constructed near the Sino-Indo border in the Demchok area in Leh district of Ladakh region.

In 2011, Chinese troops crossed the border and threatened the nomads who were grazing their cattle near the border.

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