Days after India moved 50,000 troops to its border with China, satellite images emerged showing that Chinese troops were just 150 metres away in February from the Indian military in Eastern Ladakh.
The images on Google Earth show tents and housing for soldiers at an altitude of 17,000 feet in the Rezang La area of South Pangong. Earlier images from January this year suggested that tanks were less than 100 metres apart near the Kailash Range.
The images depict Indian Army positions and camouflage tents below the ridgeline. The alleged presence of the Indian Army in "Chinese territory" was also captured by the images. However, Army sources told NDTV that Indian soldiers were only deployed within India's perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which may not be the same as shown on Google Earth.
India-China Posts Just 150 Metres Apart In Feb, Show New Satellite Pics https://t.co/Lh6u8616G9 #news #worldNews #updates Indian and Chinese frontline posts separated by 150 m in Rezang La in Eastern Ladakh. High res: hereNew Delhi: Satellite images of February 11 this ye... pic.twitter.com/3DHuz9rdy3— All Places Map (@allplacesmap) June 29, 2021
In February this year, India said its troops and Chinese forces had completely withdrawn from the disputed Lake Pangong Tso part of the Himalayan border.
The bloodiest clash in decades broke out between India and China in Pangong Tso last year. India said it lost 20 soldiers, whereas China reported four casualties. The standoff erupted on 5 May last year following a violent clash in Ladakh and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in thousands of soldiers. The Chinese troops allegedly used nail-studded sticks, iron rods, and clubs in attacks on Indian soldiers after they purportedly protested the setting up of a surveillance post by China on the "Indian side" of the Galwan Valley.
Since then, there have been at least 11 high-level disengagement talks among the militaries and diplomats. China has conveyed to India that negotiations for disengagement at Hot Springs and Gogra Post could be discussed at a commander-level meeting.
"The two sides agreed to hold the next (12th) round of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols", the Indian Foreign Ministry said after the 22nd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs on 25 June.
A Rezang-La image from Jan-2021 puts into perspective how close #India & #China were during the standoff, tanks sitting a couple of feet apart as tensions peaked a month before de-escalation in the sector pic.twitter.com/fhbc7MNf07— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) June 26, 2021
To counter China's military build-up along the LAC, India reportedly sent 50,000 more men, bringing the number of troops on the northern border to 200,000. Delhi also deployed squadrons of fighter jets to three different areas along the China border.
China on Monday said the situation along the border is "generally stable and both sides are trying to resolve the boundary issue through talks".
Delighted to meet the brave and valiant soldiers of the Indian Army at Karu in Ladakh today. I salute their courage and fortitude. pic.twitter.com/zRsbEvgg89— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 28, 2021
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday called for dialogue with neighbouring countries to resolve disputes, maintaining that "India is a peace-loving nation which does not believe in aggression, however, if provoked, we will give a befitting reply". He assured the nation that the Armed Forces are fully prepared to deal with any situation.