03:58 GMT28 September 2020
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    Indian soldiers occupied ridge heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso-Chushul sector over the weekend after a scuffle broke out with the People’s Liberation Army overnight on 29-30 August. The situation at the border remains grim as the two sides have deployed tanks within firing range of each other, government sources in New Delhi say.

    Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has arrived in Ladakh for a two-day visit to review the operational preparedness in the contested region, which has witnessed at least four physical skirmishes with Chinese troops since May of this year. An army official said on Thursday that Naravane will be briefed by senior field commanders on the ground situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

    The visit of the Army Chief comes against the backdrop of a tactical deployment by India to deter any ingression attempt by Chinese troops in the eastern Ladakh region. The two countries have been engaged in Commanders-level talks for last three days but government sources confirmed to Sputnik that no headway had been made by Wednesday evening.

    Meanwhile, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has indicated that India needs to be ready for retaliation, considering China's build-up of the People's Liberation Army along the India border in Tibet. 

    After occupying the ridge heights of Rezang La, Rechin La and near Black Top, India has also taken control of strategically-important heights from Daulat Beg Oldie to Chumar.

    China has asked India to withdraw frontline troops from Rechin La but the Indian Army claims that its troops had never crossed the loosely demarcated Line of Control (LAC).

    “As part of the precautionary deployment carried out on 30 August 2020, some readjustments of our positions on the North Bank of Pangong Tso on our side of the LAC have also been carried out,” Indian Army officials said on Wednesday evening.

    Sources have said that the troops of the two sides are within firing range of each other. India has deployed its T-90 tanks in the southern bank of Pangong Tso, while China has deployed the ZTQ-15. T-90 tank is equipped with a powerful 125mm smooth bore gun against the 105mm rifled gun on the ZTQ15.

    Nevertheless, China once again insisted that “the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side” for tensions along the LAC. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday: “You just said that the Indian side pre-empted China’s action. In China, we have a saying about a guilty mind protesting conspicuously that he’s innocent. That is what India did. It shows that the Indian troops illegally crossed the line in provocation and unilaterally changed the status quo and broke the two sides’ agreement and consensus.”

    India and China share one of longest land boundaries (4,057 km) in the world, which is loosely demarcated from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. The two sides admitted that transgression took place a number of times due to the unavailability of the clear demarcation of the boundary. However, the peace and tranquility was disturbed after the two sides attacked each other violently on 15 June in Galwan Valley; 20 Indian soldiers were killed.


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