Amidst reports that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops may start de-escalation once Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar meets his Chinese counterpart in Moscow on Thursday (September 10), fresh buildup of troops has been noticed on the northern bank of the Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
The enhanced deployment of the PLA has been seen since Tuesday evening. “Movement of troops, increased numbers and new temporary defences being set up are clearly visible. The increase in deployment by Chinese has been corresponded by the Indian forces,” ZeeNews quoted a government official privy to the developments.
No violence or faceoff has been reported but troops from both sides of LAC are in a short range from each other. “They are within clear visible range and Indian troops are keeping a close watch on the activities,” an official added.
The Chinese forces continue to occupy Finger 4 ridgeline, while the Indian Army has taken over other heights to put pressure on PLA that is holding on to the heights in Ladakh since early May. Mountain spurs jutting out into the lake at more than 14,000 feet are referred to as fingers.
The Indian Army has an advantage though on the south of Pangong Lake that has become the new friction point between the two nations. The Indian Army has occupied heights that allow it to dominate the Chinese Moldo Garrison and the Spangur Gap under Chinese control.
The southern bank of the lake was not in focus till August 29-30 when the PLA violated the previous agreements between the two countries and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo, which was foiled by the Indian Army.
Since then the Chinese have been making multiple attempts to dislodge Indian troops from these heights and the air firing on September 7 was in response to this action.