Amid reports of incursions by Chinese troops and choppers, the Indian Army has raised its vigil and preparedness to the highest level in the Ladakh region along the 646-km-long border with China, the line of actual control (LAC).
What has raised concern is the reported intrusion of two Chinese choppers in the south of Chumar on June 21, and accordingly the army began patrolling the area.
Over the past one year, shepherds and the people living close to the borderline have been reporting the presence of Chinese troops.
These reports had been conveyed to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, who was on a three-week visit to Leh till August 28, sources said.
Chinese troops enter the vast cold desert while patrolling, but return to their side of the line of control. Barren mountains and the absence of a demarcated borderline often cause confusion on both the sides.
Brigadier Murali Gopalkrishnan of the Northern Command told Hindustan Times that the locals had sighted Chinese choppers in Indian territory south of Chunar.
He, however, said that this was “often a matter of perception”.
Over the past one and a half years, India too has set up its air base close to the Chinese border in the Aksai Chin area. It has also constructed roads to connect the Dault Beg Olde and Fukche airfields, which were operationalised on May 31 and November 4 last year, for the first time after the India-China war of 1962.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Northern Command) Lt Gen PC Bhardwaj said that sometimes “minor issues” cropped up and were resolved locally. “We continue to maintain a high degree of operational preparedness,” he said.
He made it clear that there had been “no major deviations and cordial relations are maintained”.