In what is being called the deadliest escalation with the Chinese forces in 45 years, a violent face-off between the Indian and the Chinese forces has resulted in 20 casualties on the Indian side and an estimated 43 on the Chinese side.
Among the 20 Indian Amry personnel who lost their lives on Monday was the Commanding officer of an infantry battalion of the Indian Army. Although the two troops engaged in tension along the border for a few weeks now, the incident on Monday night comes as an unprecedented development.
What is the reason behind the dispute in Eastern Ladakh?
The stand-off between the two sides dates back to 1975. Ever since there have been tensions along the border. On May 5th, 2020, the Chinese forces started building bunkers along the banks of Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. By building bunkers, the Chinese forces denied Indian soldiers access to a region where they patrolled regularly. Soon after that, China accused the Indian Army of encroaching into its territory and building defense facilities. Even though both sides had agreed to move away, a violent face-off took place on the 15th of June.
What is the dispute all about?
According to India, China has illegally occupied over 38,000 square kilometers of its area in Aksai Chin. In 1963, Pakistan too ceded around 5,180 square kilometers of Indian territory to China. Meanwhile, the Chinese claim that around 90,000 square kilometers in Arunachal Pradesh and 2,000 square kilometers in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand belongs to them.
What is happening along the LAC?
Along the disputed border of Eastern Ladakh, both sides have deployed additional troops which have intensified the tension in the past few weeks. Last week, after the two generals, met, both sides had decided to withdraw troops but things took an ugly turn on the evening of June 15th. The stand-off has not been resolved yet.
Where are Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso?
Galwan is the name of the river that flows from Aksai Chin to Ladak. While India claims that the entire region of Aksai Chin belongs to it, China believes that the area the west of the river belongs to the Chinese.
Pangong Tso, on the other hand, is the highest saltwater lake in the world that extends from Ladakh in India to Tibet in China.
Why is Pangong Tso a disputed area for India and China?
India and China don’t have a mutually accepted border. They do have a line of actual control that serves as a de facto border but the interpretation of the line has been different by both sides. The line of actual control cuts through Pangong Tso lake which both the countries agree. The mountain ranges on the northern bank of Pangong Tso looks like fingers as they have demarcated on the map as fingers. While China claims that the line of actual control passed through finger 4, India believes it to pass through finger 8.
Why did China get triggered?
Apparently a road and bridge built by India have enraged the Chinese. The 255 kilometers long road is known as DSDBO connects Sarbik and Shyok that connect to the military base at Daulat Beg Oldie. This was perceived by the Chinese military as India’s preparation to move towards Aksai Chin. Particularly after Union Home Minister, Amit Shah expressed the intent of the government to reclaim India’s hold on Aksai Chin.
Source: Deccan Herald