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China begins consolidating positions in Pangong Tso area

It has been reported that the Chinese troops have deployed on the southern banks of Pangong Tso.

Chinese helipad in Pangong Tso, Line of Actual Control, India China LAC

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 Jun 2020 3:45 PM GMT

Guwahati: After the deadly stand off between Indian military and Chinese troops, the Chinese army has started consolidating its positions in the Pangong Tso area.

Amid soaring tensions between India and China on the Line of Actual control(LAC) in Ladakh, the Chinese troops have undertaken construction of a helipad at Finger 4. The Fingers are mountainous spurs jutting out from the ridge on the northern bank towards the lake. At the same time, it has been reported that the Chinese troops have deployed on the southern banks of Pangong Tso. This has led to apprehensions that the Chinese are asserting their claims and conveying their disinclination for restoration of status quo ante in the area.

An official stated, "It is correct that the Chinese have started consolidating their positions on the north bank of Pangong Tso lake. There is a helipad that is now being constructed in the Finger 4 area, which is in addition to all the other infrastructure construction done by them in past eight weeks or so."

"PLA patrols are now regularly making small forays down the ridge of Finger 3 towards the bank of the lake and then returning to the ridge. They are essentially asking us to move back to Finger 2," the official said in a release.

A second official said this meant that "the Chinese are telling us that they have no intention of going back or restoring the status quo as in April. It is why they have not been interested in discussing any disengagement or de-escalation in Pangong Tso."

The official also said "We are also deployed in adequate strength but there are certain tactical restrictions imposed by the local terrain which we are cognisant of. Let me just say it is a challenging area for us,"

However, India asserts that the LAC in the area passes through Finger 8, and the Chinese have always claimed it much further to the west. Historically, Indian patrols have had access to Finger 8 while the Chinese patrols would come further westward on vehicles using the road constructed during the 1999 Kargil War. A sharp rocky feature between the Finger 4 and Finger 3 means that the area to the west of Finger 4 is only accessible on foot.

Meanwhile, Army officials in Delhi have confirmed that no further talks between the military commanders of both sides have been scheduled so far. After the meeting of the Corps Commanders on June 22, the consensus reached was to progress with meetings between the commanders on the ground.

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