Apparently unnerved by poll-related increased movement of men and machinery on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), China has upped its surveillance through camera-fitted hydrogen balloons and dominated a portion near the line by making unusual number of sorties.
Sources said since May 3, there was increased movement of surveillance choppers on Chinese side near Chumur area. They said in an unusual posturing, Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) ensured that three choppers stay stationed on LAC near Chumur “for an unusual period of time”.
The police have downplayed the latest attempts by China to disturb polls and the reported airspace incursions on the border spread over 108 km.
“It is long border and incursions do happen from Chinese side. I can confirm of today that no incursion took place anywhere (near the LAC),” superintendent of police Sunil Gupta told the Hindustan Times over phone from Leh.
However, sources said balloons fitted with camera have been spotted near the LAC as part of attempt to increase vigil in the wake of polls on May 7 in these areas.
The latest Chinese maneuvering has come just days after the election commission started moving men and machinery to seven polling stations — Chumur, Demchok, Mann, Merak, Khaktad, Korjok and Chusul – bordering China.
Demchok, which has 80 votes, is just 50 metres away from the LAC and the PLA can actually witness polling when people come out to vote there.
Otherwise active on border in the Kashmir valley, Pakistan, sources said, has made no such attempt as by its all-weather friend China near the border where election commission has set up nine polling stations.
Besides setting up polling booths near border with Pakistan at Dha, Beima, Hanu, Tyaksh, Thang, Bojhdag and Chalunkha, Turtuk is a known pocket where Pakistan has an advantage of height and it shelled the area repeatedly during the 1999 Kargil war.
Another polling station, Tonysted, will serve to voters at the Siachen base. Siachen is the highest battleground between India and Pakistan at 5,753 metres. Both the countries have mobilised thousands of troops to retain the areas under their control.
Around 1.6 lakh voters will cast vote at 531 polling stations in the Ladakh parliamentary segment on Wednesday.
While BJP and Congress candidates are in direct fight, two independents from Kargil can turn the tide for or against these parties.