Chinese Intrusion In Leh; Ladakh Scouts Rushed To DB Sector

Chinese Intrusion In Leh; Ladakh Scouts Rushed To DB Sector

19 April 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: At least half a company of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has intruded around 10 kilometres inside Indian territory this week in Daulat Baig sector of Leh in Ladakh region and established temporary posts there, highly placed official sources said here today. The sources said that on April 15 at least 50 personnel form People’s Liberation Army intruded at least 10 kilometres inside Indian territory in Daulat Baig sector of Leh. “The PLA pitched tents inside the Indian territory and established temporary posts there”, the sources added. Sources said that while PLA were pitching tents inside Indian territory, at least 2-3 Chinese helicopters were hovering over them to give aerial cover. The PLA also wrote China in Chinese language and marked boulders in the intruded area. Sources said that Indian Army after observing cross Line of Actual Control (LAC) movement rushed a contingent of Army to the sector on April 16 and they camped half a kilometre away from the PLA camp. “And on April 17, 5th Battalion of Ladakh Scouts was sent to the sector to take on PLA challenge and they are also camping there now”, they added. “The Indian Army asked for flag meeting with the PLA to sort out the intrusion, and on April 18, it was held in Chusul”, sources added. “Indian army commander raised the issue of intrusion with their Chinese counterpart. The Chinese Army commander reportedly told his Indian counterpart that it is their own territory where they are camping. The meeting ended in deadlock”, sources added. Udampur based Northern Army Command spokesman Lt Col Rajesh Kalia when asked about the PLA intrusion in Daulat Baigsector in Leh told Excelsior: “Due to the difference in perception of LAC a few faceoffs take place in eastern Ladakh sector. These are resolved amicably through existing mechanism.” A senior Army officer without being quoted said that such incidents of faceoffs with Chinese Army take place and they are being sorted out. “The issue of Daulat Beg sector has also been resolved”, he added. Senior Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Leh when asked about the PLA intrusion in Leh told Excelsior: “The area is un-inhabited and far off. I have no knowledge about such an intrusion.” Daulat Baig is named after Daulat Baig Oldi, a 16th century Yarkandi nobleman who is supposed to have died at this place after descent from the Karakoram Pass, which is 17 kilometers to the northwest on the Indo-Chinese border. Indian Army maintains helipads and a gravel air strip in this sector, the highest airstrip in the world. Routine sorties are carried out using An-32 aircraft to provide relief and supplies to the troops stationed nearby. The base was established during the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962, with the first landing by Squadron Leader C.K.S Raje who set a record for the world’s highest aircraft landing at the time. It was operated with American-supplied Fairchild Packets from 1962 to 1966, when it had to be closed down suddenly when an earthquake caused loosening of the surface soil, making the area unsuitable for fixed-wing aircraft. The airfield was made operational again on 31 May 2008, when an Indian Air Force AN-32 landed there. Ladakh region shares a 646 kilometre long LAC with China, which is not demarcated at several places. The PLA in the past has intruded into Indian territory in Ladakh several times and Indian Army has been playing down such intrusions in the past. Last year in September, six soldiers of the PLA were detained and let off by an Indian patrolling party in the Chumar area of Leh. The Chinese troopers riding on horses entered into Indian territory when they were detained by Indian Army patrol. In October last year, a team of Indian Army personnel, engaged in the repair of a road in the Chumar sector in Ladakh, was questioned by a patrol party of PLA. The face-off lasted about half-an hour, during which the PLA troops painted Chinese letters on the marking stones in red and destroyed a map made by the Indian troops. They also snapped the communication line of the Indian Army that was being used to contact the road repair party. In July last year, a PLA patrol painted China on the rocks near Charding-Nilung Nala in Demchok in Ladakh. In May last year two face-offs were reported in Dokala, in the western sector. Earlier in August 2011, two PLA choppers with seven to eight Chinese soldiers had landed around 300 feet inside the LAC in Chumar in Ladakh and damaged the unused Indian bunkers. According to reports last year, over 400 instances of intrusion by the PLA has been reported along Sino-India border.