A SIMMERING SUMMER STANDOFF
India Today|May 03, 2021
More than two months after hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers, tanks and vehicles pulled back from the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso and the Kailash Range, an attenuated standoff looks set to continue through the summer.
Sandeep Unnithan

Indian and Chinese troops continue to confront each other at the Hot Springs and Gogra Post, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. The troop numbers, Indian military officials say, are not significant around a platoon, or 32 soldiers in both locations to mirror Chinese deployments. The deployments have continued since last June when both the Indian Army and the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) stepped back over 2 km each from their respective perceptions of the LAC. The PLA is currently around 700 metres inside India’s perception of the LAC in both locations.

The standoff points are leftovers from the disengagement between the two sides on February 10. A ministry of defence (MoD) statement then had stated that these would be “taken up at a later date”. So far, this hasn’t happened. An Indian military official said the Chinese, during talks, seemed reluctant to pull back from these positions. This, he said, appeared to have been prompted by India’s ambivalence on making the expected reciprocal gestures on other aspects of the standoff, including relaxing the ban on Chinese apps. China has deployed surface-to-air missile batteries along the LAC and created permanent infrastructure to base its troops on the Tibetan Plateau across the LAC.

On April 19, PLA Daily, the Chinese military mouthpiece, said that Beijing had deployed long-range precision-rocket artillery at an altitude of around 17,000 ft, which can only mean the LAC. New Delhi has indicated that without a complete Chinese pullback, it cannot be business as usual.

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