The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has deployed mechanised columns comprising snow scooters and all-terrain vehicles to ensure swift mobilisation of troops in sensitive zones prone to transgression in winter along the China frontier, sources in the border-guarding force said on Wednesday.
“These mechanised columns are set up in sensitive zones where the Chinese troops are said to have made frontline formations and are also ramping up infrastructure,” said an ITBP official.
ITBP guards the 3,488km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) that runs along Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
These sensitive zones along the LAC, sources said, are prone to border intrusion and incursion by the Chinese troops amid the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh.
The Chinese are estimated to have taken over close to 2,000sqkm of India-claimed territory in eastern Ladakh since May 2020.
“Besides setting up additional border outposts on these zones, mechanised columns of the force comprising snow scooters and all-terrain vehicles have been deployed this time. This will help us in swift movement of our troops in those stretches and also keep a close eye on the movements of the Chinese soldiers,” another ITBP official said.
Sources said the border-guarding force has identified at least 15 sensitive zones from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh where disputes are likely to rise because of differences in perception of the LAC.
“Even in this extreme cold and snow, ITBP troops posted in the forward border posts on high altitude areas have been instructed to keep a close vigil with surveillance cameras and ensure these posts are not abandoned,” the official said.
Both the army and the ITBP, the official said, have taken necessary measures to bolster operational and infrastructure capabilities to prevent any transgression.
The ITBP is the first line of defence and the army remains behind it.
India and China have differing perceptions of the de facto border, most of which is disputed, and the troops of either side often step into the zone both claim as their own, leading to tension that is resolved through hotlines between the two armies.
Regular flag march meetings with the Chinese army are held along the LAC to reduce tension along the border and also to prevent face-off.