The staring match between Indian and Chinese troops at Chumar in eastern Ladakh continued on Friday amid evidence that the Chinese were retreating. Indian troops, however, have decided to adopt an aggressive stance and stay put at their positions in the sector.
The standoff, which started over a week ago, had occurred at three points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
As HT reported on Friday, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops moved back 1 km at one of the points (30R) and waited in their vehicles for Indian troops to also withdraw. On Friday, these troops did not move out of their vehicles all day, said a source in the government.
At the second point, both sides have withdrawn completely while at the third point, the initial PLA strength of 105 was down to 35 troops, the source said, adding that a report to this effect has been sent to the PMO. These Chinese troops too are waiting on their side of the LAC for the Indian side to withdraw.
However, this is unlikely to happen.
With India deciding to dig in its heels, the 1,000 Army and ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) troops are likely to stay put at their current positions in Chumar. The Indian side has also decided not to demolish a hut built recently at Tible in the Chumar sector that had become an irritant for China, which wanted it demolished.
And though India and China have held more than two flag meetings to resolve the issue since the latest standoff began, Army sources said the chances of having more flag meetings to address the issue are bleak as they were not yielding many results.
Chumar, the last village in Ladakh area bordering Himachal Pradesh, has been a bone of contention with China claiming it to be its own territory. China has been sending helicopter sorties to the area almost every year.
The recent incursions were discussed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping during the Chinese President’s India visit, which concluded on Friday.
Chumar became flash point during the fortnight long standoff last year in Daulat Beg Oldie as the Chinese side had objected to overhead bunkers erected by the Indian side.