Ten Indian soldiers, including four officers – of them two majors -- held captive by the Chinese army since Monday night, were released on Thursday afternoon. All these days, as tension simmered on the LAC, there was no official word on the capture of the soldiers.
On Thursday, the Army and the Ministry of External Affairs, without mentioning the release, had both asserted that no Indian army personnel were missing in action at Galwan or not accounted for.
It is understood that the Major General-level dialogue between both militaries for three consecutive days cleared the decks for release of the Indian soldiers. It is, however, not clear what led to the Indians being taken captive by the Chinese in the first place.Having secured the release of its personnel, the Indian Army can take forward the process of disengagement of troops.
While the 10 army men have returned to their units, the situation on the ground remains volatile and in the words of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the nation is in a state of heightened defence preparedness.
All fighter aircraft have been put on high operational alert along the borders, IANS cited sources as saying, and Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria personally visiting the forward bases in Leh and Srinagar.
With no meeting point between the two sides and China brazenly asserting its authority over the Gawlan Valley, the standoff is likely to persist and could surpass the 73-day conflict in Doklam in 2017. The new flashpoint between the two sides is the Pangong Lake. There is also a renewed fury in Indian security establishments after it came to light that 10 Indian Army men were languishing in Chinese captivity since Monday.
The thinking in the Indian establishment is that the Galwan Valley attack was not an isolated incident. The Chinese exercise in deception and subterfuge with underpinnings of its expansionist designs kick-started after India began building road infrastructure in its territory near the Line of Actual Control.China, in turn, has changed the status quo at four places in eastern Ladakh to which India has objected. The four standoff points are Finger Four in north bank of Pangong Lake, patrolling point 14 near Galwan Valley, patrolling point 15 and patrolling point 17A, which is also known as Hot Springs. At all these four points, troop concentration has increased manifold as China unravelled its sinister designs. (Input IANS)