In this May 5, 2013 photo, Chinese troops in Ladakh hold a banner that asked Indian troops to move back.(AP Photo)
In this May 5, 2013 photo, Chinese troops in Ladakh hold a banner that asked Indian troops to move back.(AP Photo)

‘China’s way to create distraction’: Union minister on LAC tension in Ladakh

India is building border infrastructure in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector in the Ladakh region, and China wants to stop that.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2020 03:36 PM IST

Union minister VK Singh has said that China is trying to distract the world’s attention by increasing activity on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“China is under scrutiny, the whole world is accusing them of spreading Covid-19. Many companies are shifting from China. It’s their way to create distraction. They’ve done it many times,” Singh said.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed two brigades along with border with India in the Ladakh sector. The aggressive posturing is designed to browbeat the government to stop building border infrastructure in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector as it may threaten the Lhasa-Kashgar highway in Aksai Chin, senior government officials said.

The scale of PLA deployment indicates that the move has the sanction of Beijing and not limited to local military commanders.

India is constructing the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road, which, once fully metalled, will give India a major advantage in terms of access and military mobilisation. A key part of this is the construction of a bridge at Daulat Beg Oldie,the last military post south of the Karakoram Pass, that China wants to stop.

“The Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road will be completed this year and will raise the Indian capacity to rapidly deploy in the area. If the road project is blocked, the Indian Army will be forced to live off aerial supply lines and prepare for an arduous route linking Sansoma to Murgo to DBO through glaciated Saser La,” a national security planner in the government said.

China has plans to stare down India into submission with its all-weather ally Pakistan deliberately initiating troop movement in neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan region. But officials say that India cannot afford to budge from its position as this will amount to acceding to Xi Jinping’s cartographic expansion in the area through military muscle.

The idea is to not allow any alteration of Indian territory and to face the Chinese challenge with “strength and restraint”, sources said. And that is why India has moved troops to counter Chinese forces stationed in the region, they added.

The move to increase the troops in the border area is the result of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat.

China, meanwhile, is facing the heat from many countries about the coronavirus outbreak, which began from Wuhan city in its Hubei province in December last year. The United States is leading the charges with President Donald Trump accusing Beijing of not disclosing full information about the virus. China has denied these allegations.

At a World Health Assembly meeting earlier this month, more than 100 countries backed a resolution on finding the source of Covid-19. As the pressure mounted, China too agreed for a probe.

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