Leh/New Delhi: Chinese and Indian troops have been locked in a stand-off at the icy heights of Ladakh division since yesterday after People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel entered an area where an irrigation canal was being built under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and stopped the civilian work.
The incident took place yesterday afternoon in Demchok sector – located 250 km east of Leh – where the work for linking a village with a hot spring was being undertaken under the MNREGA scheme.
Around 55 Chinese troops arrived at the scene and halted the work in an aggressive manner, prompting the army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel to rush to the spot and stop the high-handedness of the Chinese troops, official sources said today.
The Chinese troops took positions on the perceived Line of Actual Control and demanded that work be stopped as either side needs to take permission before undertaking any work, a claim disputed by the Indian side which says that as per the agreement between the two countries, information about construction needs to be shared only if it was meant for defence purposes.
Both sides have pulled out banners and have been stationed on the ground, the sources said, adding that the army and the ITBP was not allowing the Chinese to move an inch ahead despite the PLA claiming that the area belonged to China.
Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said, “Not aware of any specifics at the moment, but [we have] established mechanisms of dealing with a situation of this nature. Let’s not sensationalise.”
The area had witnessed a similar incident in 2014 after it was decided to construct a small irrigation canal at Nilung Nalla under the MNREGA scheme that had been a sore point with the Chinese.
The PLA had mobilised villagers from Tashigong to pitch tents at the Charding-Ninglung Nallah Track Junction to protest Indian action.
This time, the sources said, there were 55 personnel from the Chinese PLA whereas nearly 70 personnel from ITBP and army had fortified the area and prevented their march deeper into Indian territory, the sources said.
The hot spring is different from the one in Chashool where Police Day is observed in the memory of ten CRPF men who were killed in 1959 by Chinese troops.
Categories: External Affairs