A ground assessment by the Indian security establishment suggests that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is continuing to undertake construction at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh and is setting up additional winter camps for its troops, sources said on Sunday.
The latest assessment, coming ahead of a fresh round of military talks for disengagement, has fuelled suspicion among security officials that the PLA is using the negotiations to further strengthen its positions at the friction points.
“It’s extremely anguishing that the Chinese troops have not kept their word and continue to carry out construction inside India-claimed lines and build winter camps and other infrastructure. During the last military talks on October 12, the PLA had agreed to continue the dialogue process for disengagement from the friction points,” a defence ministry official said.
Echoing him, an Intelligence Bureau official said: “The Chinese troops have so far shown no intent to retreat from India-claimed territory and have been acting against the agreement reached so far between the two sides to initiate the disengagement process.”
With no resolution of the border standoff in sight, the Indian Army has also been ramping up its military posts in the mountainous terrain. It has already set up hundreds of new shelters for its troops.
“The Indian Army has deployed personnel and equipment in sensitive areas to tackle any Chinese misadventure and provocation during winter,” an army officer said.
“We have no option but to go for mirror deployment, considering the PLA troops’ aggressive posture. They have so far shown no intent to pull back to their side of the Line of Actual Control.”
Sources in the security establishment said the main worry was the Pangong Lake, where the PLA has intruded nearly 8km inside the LAC and set up multiple camps at Finger 4, besides hindering patrolling by Indian troops.
The Depsang Plains are another friction point where the Chinese have increased their troop deployment manifold. India, too, has increased its military formations there.
Sources in the defence ministry said China was yet to respond on the dates for the eighth round of military talks. “We are ready with the agenda of the meeting but they have not responded so far,” an official said.