Has The Indian Army Captured ‘Pious’ Mount Kailash From China?

An image of the Indian Army soldiers near the sacred Mount Kailash is being shared on social media which is getting viral. Has the Indian Army captured the Kailash mountain, which the Chinese occupied in the 1962 Indo-China war?

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Major General G.D. Bakshi also shared the viral photo on September 14 with the caption, “in 1841 Gen Zorawar Singh had invaded Tibet advanced 800 km inside and captured the famous Mansarovar lake. A major battle was fought on the banks of the sacred lake in which a huge Chinese force was routed. Our army is now sitting on the approach to Mt Kailash”

A simple reverse image google search shows that the background of the image has been morphed. The original image is also used by media organizations including The Print and India Today in several articles.

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Articles published by the ThePrint titled ‘Army may recall retd personnel with medical expertise if the fight against Covid-19 intensifies’ published on May 28, 2020, and another one titled ‘No dip in candidates who want to join armed forces but here’s why fewer made it since 2017’ published on March 24, 2020, use the original image with the caption – Indian Army personnel, Representational image, taken by ANI. 

IndiaToday used the same image with the caption – ‘Jawans hold the tricolor at LoC on the eve of Republic Day.’ The image is part of a series of images showing soldiers and children celebrating Republic Day at the LoC. 

Matters India also used the original image in an article titled Army Proposes a 3-year stint for Indian civilians, published on May 13, 2020. The claim that the viral photo is taken after the Indian soldiers captured the Kailash mountain is false.

However, it is important to note that the Indian Army captured strategic heights on the intervening night of August 29 and August 30. The Indian Army reportedly occupied critical heights overlooking the PLA Army positions at Finger 4 along the Pangong Lake.

As per reports, the pre-emptive operations to seize critical heights were carried out near the Southern bank of Pangong Tso. 

Colonel Aman Anand (PRO, Indian Army) described the incident saying, “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground.”

ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief, Shekhar Gupta, in an episode of ‘Cut the Clutter’, stated, “after the war in 1962, India never went up to occupy the ridgeline because it’s very uncomfortable and extremely demanding.

The weather conditions are very bad, supplies are very challenging, and it also puts you eyeball to eyeball with the other side. The idea was to create distance because to move too close seemed to be escalatory.”

Reportedly, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are manning to critical heights, including the Black Top. The Indian Army, along with the classified Special Frontier Force (SFF) and the ITBP, now have effective control of the dominating heights at Black Top, Yellow Bump, and Helmet Top.

Tensions have been soaring between the two countries for the last 5 months despite the efforts being made to disengage. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in an address to the Parliament, said that there are several friction areas in Eastern Ladakh, including Gogra, Kongka La, and the North and South Banks of the Pangong Lake.

“The situation this year is very different both in terms of the scale of troops involved and the number of friction points…We do remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, the House can be assured that we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies,” he added.