New Delhi, June 27 (KMS): As tensions run high between India and China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, and no talks scheduled so far between military commanders, the Chinese army has started consolidating its positions in the Pangong Tso area, says a media report.
This includes undertaking construction of a helipad at Finger 4 and a sudden increase of Chinese troops on the southern banks of Pangong Tso, says the report published in the Indian Express.
The move shows that the Chinese are asserting their claims and conveying their disinclination for restoration of status quo ante in the area.
An Indian official told the daily, “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.
Another official told the newspaper 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.” “We have 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,” the official said.
Pangong Tso and its northern bank have been a territory of contention between the two sides but before the current tensions arose, the Chinese had a permanent base at Finger 8. They have now deployed themselves eight kilometres to the west, at Finger 4 where they have also constructed shelters, pillboxes, bunkers and other infrastructure both on the bank and the ridgeline.
The Fingers are mountainous spurs jutting out from the ridge on the northern bank towards the lake. 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.
The official also said that there has also been a sudden increase in Chinese troops on the southern bank of the lake, which has been matched by the Indian side as well.
Meanwhile, Indian Army officers in Delhi confirmed to the daily that no further talks between the military commanders of both sides have been scheduled so far.