Both India and China moved more troops and equipment to the contested Ladakh region on Thursday, satellite images show. This comes as talks at the major general-level between the countries to de-escalate the tensions failed on Wednesday.
Images via @planetlabs of the #IndiaChinaFaceOff spot an interesting fact at the suspected clash point, little to no presence of #China PLA units upto 500 meters of the LAC/CCL on 16 June 2020, while the #Indian side has units in the area guarding the line pic.twitter.com/wflEraO0jz— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) June 17, 2020
Col Vinayak Bhatt (retired), a satellite imagery expert, claimed that one combined arms brigade has been deployed and the build-up has increased over the past few days in the contested area. Bhatt said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has constructed 10m x 20-30m long bridges to ease the movement of armoured vehicles. Satellite images have also captured earth-moving equipment of the PLA very close to the Line of Actual Control, which loosely demarcates the border that separates the two Asian giants.
In a late night development after a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, India issued a "war-like" alert to all the commands guarding the border with China.
While the Air Force and Navy have also been put on alert, government sources have informed that the Indian Army has deployed more than 15,000 troops with equipment in forward areas in the disputed region of Ladakh, which borders with China-administered Aksai Chin.
Sources in the Indian Army have told Sputnik that leaves for personnel have been cancelled and a high alert has been declared at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Besides the build-up in the Galvan Valley, Indian media has reported the deployment of 12 artillery guns near the Gogra Post, where the Chinese side infiltrated at least 2km across the Line of Actual Control.
Last night, after China in a statement claimed sovereignty over the disputed territory of the Galvan Valley in Ladakh, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava maintained that "making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding" and said that both sides had agreed on a sincere implementation of the understandings reached between senior commanders on 6 June and to handle the situation responsibly.
Meanwhile, ruling out the possibility of a formal plan on mediation, the United States said that it is monitoring the situation in eastern Ladakh and extended its "deepest condolences" for the 20 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the border clash.
While there are reports that there are casualties on the Chinese side too, Beijing has not officially revealed the number.
The European Union, has also urged both sides to show restraint and engage in a military de-escalation.
The situation continues to remain tense in India, where there is a simmering anti-China sentiment and public outrage towards Chinese goods. The effect has trickled down to the telecom sector, where India's state-owned BSNL said it would not use Chinese equipment for the upgradation of 4G equipment, falling in line with the country’s Telecom Department's advice.
While the immediate cause for the confrontation remains unclear, both nuclear-armed nations have accused each other of violating the loosely demarcated Line of Control in breach of the agreement reached between the two countries during their commander-level talks.