The Dragon is at it once more. On two days last week, Chinese troops - estimated by sources at as many as 100 -crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh carrying banners asking India to vacate "occupied" territory.
The incursions occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday last and though the Chinese went back to their positions after eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations with Indian troops, the matter was serious enough to be noted by the prime minister's office, besides the ministries of defence and external affairs.
The incidents ratchet up the temperature between the Asian giants and intensify a game of cat-and-mouse marked by Chinese forays across the border and alternating belligerent and placatory statements from across the LAC. Defence minister AK Antony was in Beijing earlier this month.
"The face-to-face situation continued for two days and in between a Chinese vehicle also broke down. Status quo was restored on July 18," said a senior official.
The Indian side has asked for a meeting of the area commanders at Spanggur Gap to discuss the incursion, and a meeting of the apex China Study Group, comprising of top officials from the foreign, home and defence ministries and the intelligence agencies R&AW and IB is being convened.
In mid-June Chinese PLA troops dismantled a closed-circuit camera set up by the Indian army in the Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh. Chumar has been the focus of the PLA since the 21 day face-off in Depsang Plains, which ended on May 5. This area near the Himachal Pradesh border has also seen airborne violations by PLA helicopters.
Senior officials said that LAC transgressions by the Chinese and confrontations have been reported from Arunachal Pradesh and even Sikkim in the past two months.