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China smashes Leh sheds, grabs cameras

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 09, 2013
First Published: 16:18 IST(9/7/2013) | Last Updated: 09:37 IST(10/7/2013)

Barely two months after they pitched tents 19km inside Indian territory, triggering a 21-day standoff, Chinese soldiers intruded into the Chumar sector in Ladakh again on June 17.

This time, they dismantled temporary structures and took away cameras installed by the Indian Army in a disputed area both countries claim as their own.

Confirming this, army sources said Tuesday the Chinese soldiers had since returned the equipment, after a flag meeting between local commanders. A source said the cameras were not functional.

The incursion took place days ahead of defence minister AK Antony’s visit to China last week and a Chinese general’s warning that India should “stop increasing military deployment and stirring up new trouble”. The neighbours are negotiating a new border framework as a step towards resolving the territorial dispute.

India had addressed China’s concerns in Chumar to end the standoff triggered by the April 15 incursion. The army had set up forward observation posts and bunkers and deployed surveillance equipment in the sector. It eventually knocked down a temporary structure as a Chinese pre-condition to end the impasse.

The Chinese contention is that some of the build-ups along the line of actual control (LAC) are in violation of protocols governing borders that haven’t been mutually delineated.

India is weighing a proposal to patrol deeper into the disputed territory, beyond the limits observed before the April standoff, as reported by HT. Currently, surveillance is restricted to a self-imposed “patrolling limit” ranging 2-20km inside New Delhi’s perception of the LAC.

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