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India decides not to up the ante as fifth Chinese tent comes up in Ladakh


Surya Gangadharan,CNN-IBN
Apr 30, 2013 at 11:12am IST

Leh/New Delhi: India has decided not to up the ante against China even after the neighbouring country's troops reportedly erected another tent at Raki Nullah in eastern Ladakh. The standoff between the two countries has now entered the third week.

However, the annual May 1 border personnel meeting may be used by India to bring up the issue of continued Chinese presence in Raki Nullah. It appears the intrusion is linked to India's advance landing ground in Fukche, which brings China's western highway within striking distance of Indian fighter jets.

ALSO SEE Chinese troops erect one more tent in Ladakh as standoff enters third week

On Monday, a fifth tent was reported to have come up in Ladakh. Chinese soldiers had intruded at least 19km into eastern Ladakh on April 15. Sources said efforts to break the impasse over the incursion are yielding no results because of China's insistence that some bunkers constructed by India at a key vantage point be dismantled.

China is understood to have laid down this condition before the Indian side for pulling back from the place 19 Km inside the Indian territory in DBO where around 50 troops have been camping, sources said.

The government is seized of this issue at the meetings of the China Study Group headed by the National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and including Secretaries of key Ministries such as Defence, Home and External Affairs, sources said.

The rigidity shown by the Chinese over its demand is also one of the reasons behind more Flag meetings between the two sides not being held for over a week, they said. Sources said the vantage point is at a junction between two mountains in Ladakh area from where the Indian troops could remain unseen and oversee the activities of the Chinese troops in that area.

After the Chinese troops observed the Indian position there due to the movement of vehicles and soldiers, they intruded into Indian territory on April 15 to press for their demands, the sources said.

The vantage point is at a location which is claimed by both sides as their territory, they said. The sources also said Chinese soldiers are getting continued supplies from trucks and light vehicles from its side of the border. According to a detailed report from the site of incursion, the additional tent has come up after three failed Flag meetings between Indian and Chinese Armies at Chashul.

As the government came under opposition attack on the incursion issue, Congress said it is well aware of the situation in Ladakh. "As and when an appropriate action is necessary, the government will take it," Congress spokesperson Sandip Dikshit said.

He also emphasised that war is not an option in such scenarios. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who will be visiting China on May 9, said he hopes that the stand off between Indian and Chinese army emerging out of Chinese incursions will be solve by the time he travels there.

The move comes at a time when the government has been cornered by the Opposition and its allies. The government's China policy came under fierce attack from the Opposition in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Opposition MPs led by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh described the government's conduct on the Chinese intrusion into eastern Ladakh as 'cowardly'.

The MPs accused the government of holding back the armed forces from retaliating. Some MPs even called for war if that was what China wanted.

Meanwhile, the BJP blamed Centre's soft attitude towards China as a reason behind the latest incursion in DBO sector in eastern Ladakh. "India's defence policy towards China is soft as a result of which China indulges in intrusions every now and then," BJP National Executive Member and former MP, Thupstan Chhewang, told reporters.

Flaying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, for their comments that it was a local issue and that the area was a disputed one with no demarcated areas, Chhewang said that instead of taking appropriate steps to discourage China from waging undeclared war, government was making "seditious" statements.

Chhewang claimed that Centre's defensive policy towards China has also demoralised the Indian forces deployed along the borders. He also insisted upon creation of proposed Special Command Base in Ladakh to counter Chinese threat.

(With Additional Inputs From PTI)

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