19:35 GMT27 February 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): In August, the Indian Army’s vice-chief designate M. M. Naravane stated that if the Chinese Army had crossed the border at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) 100 times, Indian troops have done so twice as many times.

    Days after the second Informal Summit between India and China, an Indian army official has claimed China's People Liberation Army has been conducting firing exercises near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

    The officer has alleged that Chinese troops have been training with mortars and conducting grenade lobbing exercises close to the borders and in areas infamous for transgressions.

    "It could be a Chinese strategy to communicate to India that it's matched up to Indian forces in areas where they had difficulties in negotiating the difficult terrain earlier and that they are able to deploy bigger formations deeper than ever before," an Indian e-paper The Morning Standard quoted the army officer as saying.

    The former Indian military officer, however, said it was just "another training exercise" but asked the Indian troops to remain on alert considering Beijing's opposition to the repeal Jammu and Kashmir's special status and its bifurcation into two federally-administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The latter directly concerns China.

    "We also do similar kinds of training near the border. This is nothing new but, yes Indian troops must remain vigilant along the border," Defence Analyst Major General Ravi Kumar Arora (Retired) said.

    China has vehemently opposed the Indian decision to declare Ladakh a separate administrative region, following the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and has asked New Delhi to revert its status to that before 5 August.

    Nevertheless, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently skipped the Ladakh issue while visiting India for the 2nd Informal Summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Indian foreign secretary Vijay Kumar Gokhale categorically stated "this issue was not raised and not discussed…In any case, the government of India's position as expressed publicly is very clear."

    "This is a matter that concerns the internal affairs of the country," he stated after the summit.

    China has previously categorically stated that India's decision is "unacceptable" and should be overturned, while India has emphasised that the decision did not impact the Line of Actual Control - a loosely demarcated line that divides the two Asian giants. India and China share a border stretching nearly 4,000 km, much of which is disputed.


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