China stays put in Ladakh as third flag meeting fails

Highly-placed sources have claimed that the Chinese troops are unlikely to withdraw from the positions they have taken up inside the Indian territory.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A day after a third flag meeting between India and China failed to resolve the Ladakh incursion issue, highly-placed sources have claimed that the Chinese troops are unlikely to withdraw from the positions they have taken up inside the Indian territory.

The firm stand of the Chinese troops comes despite India`s insistence that the territory they have been camping at belongs to India.

The Chinese troops have intruded 19 kilometres deep inside the Indian territory in Ladakh, at Rakki Nullah in Daulat Beg Oldi sector, 16 days back and set up tented posts at the site.

The government, meanwhile, appears to be in relaxed mode with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid telling an English news channel that there is no need to press the panic button.

Khurshid said the incident was due to difference of opinion and perception, and there was no confrontation.

The third flag meeting between Brigadier-level officers of India and China yesterday at Chushul in Ladakh failed to resolve the issue of incursion.

The meeting continued for more than three hours but failed to end the stand-off, said sources.

The Chinese side remained firm on its demand that India should dismantle its infrastructure developed in Eastern Ladakh which includes some newly-constructed bunkers at key vantage points and roads constructed close to the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), they said.

In the meeting, India also made its stand clear that there should be an unconditional withdrawal of Chinese troops from the Indian territory as per the agreements signed between the two sides on earlier occasions, they said.

At the Unified Commanders` Conference also, Defence Minister AK Antony took a tough stand on the issue saying that India was not to be blamed for the incursions as it was "not one of our creation".

He emphasised that India would take every possible step to safeguard its interest in the area.

The sources also said that the Chinese troops are still maintaining their tents and troops.

The situation was also discussed at length during a security review meeting Antony had with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and the three Services chiefs.

The two earlier meetings on the issue between the two sides had failed to yield any outcome and the Chinese soldiers have even started to increase their presence in the area by erecting new tents and continue to get supplies by trucks from their unit 25 km from the face-off point.

China has been raising objections over the construction of bunkers and ALGs by the Indian side within its area along its perception of the LAC.

India has also deployed its troops from ITBP and Ladakh Scouts to keep an eye on the Chinese troops at the stand-off site and will increase its strength there if the Chinese do so.

It had raised objections over the activation of ALGs at Fukche and DBO area in the last four-five years by the IAF and has also registered its protest on the road construction activities of the Border Roads Organisation in that area.

The IAF operates its Antonv-32 transport aircraft in these air fields and had even practiced the landing of its latest C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft there.

Chinese troops had entered Indian territory on April 15 at the face-off site, 70 km south of Burtse in Ladakh division.

(With PTI inputs)