35 Chinese PLA soldiers return to Chumar, sit on a hillock
Official sources said about 35 PLA men returned to Chumar in northeast Ladakh and were perched on a hillock claiming the area to be part of China while another 300 soldiers were maintaining presence close to Line of Actual Control.india Updated: Sep 19, 2014 20:38 IST
Hours after withdrawing from the Chumar region in Ladakh, Chinese PLA soldiers were on Friday reported to have crossed into Indian territory again and stationed themselves on a hillock.
Official sources said about 35 PLA men returned to Chumar in northeast Ladakh and were perched on a hillock claiming the area to be part of China while another 300 soldiers were maintaining presence close to Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The standoff in Demchok and Chumar had cast a shadow on Thursday's summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Indian Army, which had starting scaling down operations from the area following the Chinese withdrawal last night, put a halt and again started pitching their tents for a possible fresh stand-off, the sources said.
They said that nearly 300 Chinese soldiers were spotted across the perceived LAC with many of them stationed in their vehicles while others on foot.
This, the sources said, was apparently done by Chinese PLA as the Indian Army had not completely withdrawn from the region which is part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Read: After Modi-Xi meeting, China agrees to settle border dispute soon, demarcate LAC
Chinese troops, without any border meeting, had started withdrawing from the area at 9:45 PM and the Indian Army had also started reducing their presence in the area.
However, as a part of its drill, some army presence was maintained in the area to verify whether the Chinese had actually returned to their territory which was possible only after the break of dawn tomorrow.
In the morning, after Indian Army spotted PLA presence close to the LAC, it was decided to stop reduction of troops till it was verified that the Chinese have gone back to their camps located 10 kms from the LAC.
The tension in this area erupted on Sunday when some of the Chinese workers, who were constructing road on their side, started entering into the Indian side and also claimed that they had orders to build road upto Tible, five km deep into the Indian territory.
The Indian Army asked the Chinese workers to leave as otherwise they would face prosecution under Indian laws for entering the country illegally.
However, during the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, nearly 100 Indian soldiers were reported to have been encircled by 300 Chinese PLA men after which a face-off started.
India also rushed reinforcements to the area and were not allowing the Chinese troops to proceed further and also asking them to retreat to their side.
Chumar, the last village in Ladakh area bordering Himachal Pradesh, has been a bone of contention with China claiming it to be its own territory and has been frequenting the area with helicopter incursions almost every year.
Chumar had become a flash point during the fortnight long stand-off last year in Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) as the Chinese side had objected to overhead bunkers erected by the Indian side.
As part of an agreement reached at the flag meeting to end the stand-off from April-May 2013 at DBO, the Indian side had to dismantle some overhead bunkers in Chumar.
HT Analysis: Defensive India needs to take firmer stand against China