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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Army takes a step back in Ladakh

Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 03, 2013
First Published: 00:56 IST(3/5/2013) | Last Updated: 09:39 IST(3/5/2013)

The army has stopped patrolling the eastern Ladakh areas beyond the site where Chinese troops have taken up positions — 19km into Indian territory — to avoid escalating the stand-off.

Prior to the Chinese incursion of April 15 soldiers would carry out weekly surveillance on foot, according to army sources.

It is not clear when Indian troops last patrolled the area before Chinese pitched tents and set up a base in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector, bringing matters to a head between the two countries.

It is understood that the government may have advised the army not to comb the sector so that diplomatic efforts are not hampered.
“As of now, there are no plans to launch patrols behind the Chinese positions. Patrolling right up to our perception of the line of actual control may be seen as provocative,” a source said.

Launching armed patrols from other directions beyond the faceoff site is likely to send out a message that the Indian Army plans to cut off the supply lines of the Chinese troops  — one of the options that army has suggested to the government to counter the Chinese aggression.

Army chief General Bikram Singh had on Wednesday briefed the government on the ground situation.

The chief gave the government a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels.

Three brigadier-level flag meetings between the two sides have failed to find a solution to the end the 17-day impasse.

There's growing suspicion within the military establishment that the intruding Chinese soldiers will hold on to the Indian territory for quite some time, if not permanently.

China has a tendency to ratchet up the border dispute at frequent intervals, especially before important high-level visits. The latest incursion is timed weeks ahead of Chinese premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to India.


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