New Delhi: Chinese troops have recently violated the border in Chamoli, a district in Uttarakhand. They were seen camping along with arms, despite the two nations having agreed to keep it a demilitarised area.
On July 19, a team led by the Chamoli district magistrate, including officials from the Indian Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP), went for a survey of the Barahoti ground when they first saw the troops, official sources said.
Sources said that the civilian team was sent back by Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops, who claimed it to be their land.
The 80 square kilometre ground, the two countries had agreed, was to remain a disputed area since 1957, and was to be sorted out at the negotiating table by the two sides.
Over the past few years, Chinese troops have been spotted in the area. Air violations have taken place in this area as well, according to the sources.
The Chinese had sent in a delegation on April 19, 1958 for negotiations with their Indian counterparts and both sides had agreed not to send troops into the area. However, they had avoided a discussion on final settlement of the Barahoti ground.
Ever since this agreement, ITBP, which mans the 3,488 km Sino-Indian border from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast, has never entered the area with arms, as per sources. Shepherds from both sides are allowed to enter, however.
The Chinese troops have returned since the incursion was reported, even as apprehensions of their taking undue advantage of the 1958 agreement persisted. Authorities are concerned by the Chinese pushing in their soldiers into the area which they recognise as ‘Wu-Je’.
While Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat termed the development as “something to worry about”, hoping that Centre will pay heed to his request for increased vigil, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that ITBP had been asked to look into the matter.