Amid reports of Chinese troops stopping construction of a water channel in Demchok area along the Sino-India border, a top source in the home department said the issue was resolved and work had resumed “unhindered”.
Reports on Thursday stated that soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had for the past two days marched into Indian territory in Ladakh and objected to a canal construction meant to link a village with a ‘hot spring’.
However, India’s Northern Command clarified that no Chinese incursions had taken place across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two countries.
“The Indian army and the administration took a firm stand and resisted the PLA’s move of stalling the developmental work... It is our territory and basic amenities have to be provided to the villagers. The work is going on unhindered. The issue stands resolved and there is no face-off,” the source said.
The construction is being done under the Border Area Development Project.
“There is an understanding between the two countries that no big works, especially with regards to improving defences, shall be taken up on either side of the Line of Actual Control, but minor works aimed at ameliorating socio-economic condition of villagers could be taken up,” the source said, adding that the government has been focusing on developmental projects in border areas off late.
A defence source also confirmed the resolution of the matter, and said the 50 PLA troopers, who had been protesting at the site on Wednesday, retreated by Thursday morning.
“The hot spring and the channel being constructed by us fall within Indian territory, but the area is close to the LAC,” said an official, adding, “The PLA is in the habit of raising objections to every development work being carried out for villagers.”
Chinese troops had earlier protested against the channel construction on two occasions -- on March 26 and April 14 -- resulting in the work being temporarily suspended.
These frequent objections have led to locals in Demchok demanding resettlement while the Indian government attempts to improve amenities in the area.
- April 14 and March 26, 2016: Construction of water channel in Demchok area suspended after Chinese troops object to it
- March 16: Indian Army asks Leh administration to stop road construction in Chumar area along the Line of Actual Control following objections from Chinese army
- June 2015: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police — first line of defence along LAC — seeks deployment of additional 6,000 personnel, apparently to check transgressions by Chinese army
- August 2011: Chinese troops enter Indian territory, destroy several unused bunkers in Chumar area of Leh