Soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army recently made a two-pronged simultaneous incursion into the Indian-controlled region of Ladakh, according a report in the Times of India on Nov. 3.
A source from the Indian government said these incursions were launched by the PLA simultaneously along the road built beside Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh and on the northern bank of the lake in an area 168 kilometers from Leh on Oct. 22.
The Indian-Tibetan Border Police responded to the PLA intrusions immediately, first intercepting the Chinese troops aboard their boats at the line of actual control, the demarcation line between Indian and Chinese territory agreed upon in a 1993 agreement between the two nations.
Two high-speed interceptor boats bought from the United States, equipped with radar, infra-red and GPS systems, played an important role in the operation. Both boats can carry nearly 15 soldiers and are as good as their Chinese counterparts, according to the paper. PLA soldiers on mountain terrain vehicles were also blocked by the Indian-Tibetan Border Police before they were able to cross the line of actual control by road.
Fu Xiaoqiang from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations told the Communist Party-run Global Times that Pangong Lake is a disputed territory claimed by both Beijing and New Delhi located in the Ngari prefecture of Tibet. Currently, two thirds of the lake is under Chinese administration and the other third is controlled by India, according to Fu. He said Pangong Lake is relatively peaceful compared to other disputed territories along the border.
Fu told the Global Times that Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, is trying to use Chinese incursions across the Indian line of actual control to hide his true ambitions in southern Tibet. With assistance from Japan, India is constructing a 2,000-kilometer strategic highway along the border region. At the same time, an additional 10,000 troops have been deployed to the eastern part of the line of actual control to boost the numbers of the border police.
China and India have butted heads over border issues for over a century, in particular Arunachal Pradesh, which officially became an Indian state in February 1987. China continues to claim the state, including its strategically important Tawang district, as a part of Tibet.