The Indian Home Ministry has issued a high alert to its troops and asked them to remain vigilant along the borders with China, Nepal and Bhutan. The ministry sources said that forces guarding the border with China (Indo Tibetan Border Police) and the Nepal-Bhutan border (Sashastra Seema Bal) have been asked to increase patrolling and surveillance.
India Occupied Strategic Hilltops
Meanwhile, Indian army sources have revealed that large numbers of troops are now occupying the strategically-important and disputed Rechin La, also known as the Reqin Pass in the western sector of the China-India border, overlooking a crucial Chinese camp at Moldo. They are stationed atop a ridge line that extends from south of Pangong Tso to Spanggur Tso going through Chushul-Rezang La and extending to the Requin Pass, the sources told Sputnik.
Besides Rechin La, Indian troops also control the top of hill features like Magar Hill and Gurung Hill which have been unoccupied since 1962 when the two Asian giants came to blows in another border dispute.
Army sources have revealed that Indian troops in large numbers are holding strategically-important Magar Hill, Gurung Hill and Rechin La. #IndiaChinaBorderTension #IndiaChinaStandoff pic.twitter.com/ZTiO6NuCJD— Aakriti Sharma (@_aakritisharma) September 2, 2020
War of Words
Chinese embassy in India spokesperson Ji Rong on Tuesday said in a statement that India should immediately withdraw its frontline troops that illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control at the southern bank of Pangong Tso and Rechin La in the western sector of the India-China border.
Provocations of Indian troops grossly violated China's territorial sovereignty&bilateral agreements, ran counter to efforts of both sides to ease situation on the ground. We urge Indian side immediately stop any actions leading to escalation&complication. https://t.co/cQFHXKNrZT pic.twitter.com/myfbJeJOHp— Ji Rong (@ChinaSpox_India) September 1, 2020
However, India’s External Affairs Ministry has termed its action as "defensive measures" in response to the aggressive actions of the People's Liberation Army.
Both sides are still awaiting the outcome of the commander level talks that are ongoing following clashes on 29-30 August.
National Security Analyst Nitin Gokhale has said that Indian troops will not advance further but they will definitely not backdown until China agrees to India's conditions.
Speaking about India occupying the ridge line, he says that whoever occupies the high ground has an advantage in the mountains and India has turned the tables after learning lessons from Chinese actions in recent months. “The Chinese are not only surprised but quite embarrassed. India is holding on to two tactically advantageous positions in the Chushul Valley. This gives decision-makers an option of some give and take,” Gokhale adds.
India and China troops have taken part in four skirmishes since May. Several rounds of military and diplomatic level talks have so far failed to diffuse the tensions along the loosely demarcated 4,057km border that stretches from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.