Not intrusion, says army chief on Chinese soldiers entering Ladakh’s Demchok
Chinese civilians who entered the Demchok area on July 6 to oppose the birthday celebration of Dalai Lama were “accompanied” by Chinese soldiers, Chief of Army General Bipin Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar to mark 20 years of the Kargil war in New Delhi.
“Any time civilians come forward ( to the LAC), there will be PLA ( People’s Liberation Army of China),” General Rawat said.
On July 6, Chinese in civilian clothes approached Line of Actual Control - the disputed de facto border between India and China - and objected to locals celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday.
The Chinese showed a banner which said: ‘Ban all activity to split Tibet’.
The incident took place in Fukche area - 270-km south-east of Leh town. The Indus River runs along Fukche. The Indus River is about 20 meters wide.
The army chief, however, underlined that it was standard practice for soldiers to accompany civilians on both sides.
“if civilians are going towards LAC, they are accompanied by the ITBP or the Army. We don’t allow civilians to go to the LAC without being” monitored, he said.
On being asked specifically about this case the Army Chief said, “Civilians have come and obviously the Chinese army will accompany them. Nobody would want civilians to go to the border without their activity being monitored. Both sides continue to monitor (such movements)”.
“The issue would be raised at the flag meeting betwéen commanders,” General Rawat said.
He added that “there has been no intrusion. We need to dispel this talk of intrusion. We have very good working relations with China”.
A large part of the India-China border is undemarcated. Both claim the same tracts of land leading to disputes.
The Army Chief said both sides had a differing perception of the border, and there are occasions when the patrols do come face-to-face.