Around 200 troops of China's People's Liberation Army entered Indian territory last week leading to a face-off with the Indian Army at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, sources have said.
A few troops from China were also temporarily detained by Indian soldiers; they had attempted to damage unoccupied bunkers, it is claimed; the incident happened between the border pass of Bum La and Yangtse, close to the Line of Actual Control, in Tawang Sector.
Top government sources said the face-off lasted for a few hours and was resolved as per the existing protocols. There was no damage caused to the Indian defences during the engagement.
Sources also stated that the India-China border has not been formally demarcated: hence there is a difference in perception of the LAC between the two countries. So, such faceoffs are inevitable.
There was no official comment from the Army on the incident. The latest foray comes just over a month after a similar transgression when Chinese troops had reportedly carried out aggressive patrolling in Uttarakhand’s Barahoti sector near the LAC. As per a media report, the Chinese had spent a few hours in the sector before turning back.
The India and China logjam at the LAC in eastern Ladakh has persisted since May last year, even though a disengagement of troops from both sides has taken place in the sensitive Pangong Tso and the Gogra areas. However, there has been no de-escalation by either side, as both continue to maintain thousands of additional troops along the LAC.
Tawang has been a sticking point between India and China since the 1962 war when the PLA had captured the province. Beijing sees Tawang as part of a larger Tibet; in fact, it claims that Arunachal Pradesh is an extension of southern Tibet.
The historical significance of Tawang accrues from the fact that it is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. Strategically, ‘‘Tawang provides geographical access up to the Brahmaputra plains and provides the shortest axis to Tezpur in Assam.’’