As India-China border tensions have again surged after fresh clashes and Beijing refusing to withdraw from some critical points, India too has taken advantage and taken control of un-demarcated border regions.
The Black Top, a strategic height in the area which falls well within the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control, is now effectively under the control of Indian forces, according to reports in TOI.
The move started when the Indian Army detected a column of 300 PLA troops moving on the feature to construct permanent settlements and occupy the area (a common PLA strategy). Since the Black Top came under the Indian occupation, troops were mobilized and the PLA soldiers were stopped from intrusion.
The heights were previously unoccupied and according to the reports, Indian and PLA troops are within firing range of one another, separated by just a few hundred meters at one point.
Earlier, the PLA, in an official statement, accused Indian troops of crossing LAC along the Pangong Tso lake and at Requin La, located close to the scene of the gallant battle of Rezang La in 1962 in which a company of the 13 Kumaon battalion led by Major Shaitan Singh fought till his death.
However, Indian officials said that the deployments in the Chushul subsector were well within its perception of LAC and the reason troops were moved forward was to avoid a situation like the Finger Area where PLA created defenses by violating border protocols.
The Indian Army has consolidated its positions with the deployment of heavy armor in the vulnerable Spanggur Gap to thwart any further PLA ingress into the region.
With such a situation emerging at the Western part of the LAC in Ladakh, India is also focusing on strengthening its defenses in the Eastern part of the LAC, which includes the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The case of the exposed and vulnerable Indian border of Himachal Pradesh has been discussed here.
The consolidation of defenses and deployment of additional troops along the Eastern sector was being done more vigorously after the June 15 Galwan Valley clashes, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian and an unspecified number of PLA troops.
According to the Times of India, the deployment of additional troops raises concerns over a wider face-off, though both government and military officials have ruled out any ‘immediate confrontation’.
Ayushi Sudan, the chief civil servant of the eastern district of Anjaw – in Arunachal Pradesh state told Reuters “the military presence has surely increased, but as far as incursions are concerned, there are no verified reports as such.” “There’s been an increase in troop deployment since the Galwan incident, and even prior to that we had started,” she added.
However, according to an Indian military spokesman, there was no reason for tension and the deployment was a part of regular rotations in the area, and the sector is likely to remain silent. “Basically, it’s units changing. That’s happening as it happens every time, nothing much. As of now, there’s nothing to worry about on that front,” said Lt. Col. Harsh Vardhan Pande to Reuters.