Locals in Ladakh agree with India’s top officials that the situation on the region’s border with China is no different from what it was a few months ago.
At Nyoma, where India activated an airfield 23 km from the Line of Actual Control on Friday, Padma Dorjey, a soldier with the Ladakh Scouts, said the painting in Chinese letters of the word “China” on rocks that had led to the current spate of news reports was over two years old.
“Somehow the media got wind of it only now,” Dorjey said.
He added that since the Line of Actual Control — which serves as the border between India and China — is not clearly defined, “soldiers on both sides end up trespassing at many times”.
P. Stobdan, an expert on China at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis in Delhi, agrees. “Chinese incursions have been happening since last year.”
He said incidents were also reported in January and June this year, but went largely unnoticed.
In January 2009, the Chinese army had threatened soldiers in the border areas of Ladakh to vacate the region, Stobdan said. The incident was reported by the District Commissioner of Leh, he added.
Ajeet Kumar Sahu, the Leh DC, declined comment saying he is not authorised to speak on the matter.
Beijing has denied the reports of incursions by its soldiers.