New Delhi: More than 20 months into the military standoff, China has deployed around 60,000 troops opposite the Indian territory in Ladakh and continues to build infrastructure to help the faster movement of its forces to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The Chinese numbers had surged significantly during the summer season as they brought in a large number of troops for summer training. They have now gone back to their rear locations. However, they are still maintaining around 60,000 troops in the areas opposite Ladakh,” government sources told ANI.
The threat perception is there from the Chinese side as they continue to build infrastructure across the LAC. New roads are being built opposite the Daulat Beg Oldie area and near the Pangong lake area, they said. Sources said the Indian side has also taken very strong steps to ensure that any possible misadventure from the Chinese side.
The Indian Army has brought in the forces of the counter-terrorism Rashtriya Rifles` Uniform Force into the Ladakh theater on the Eastern front even as the infrastructure build-up is continuing from the Indian side too. Sources said that the Indian Army is keeping all the mountain passes open to rush in troops if they are required at any of the friction points there.
Sources said the Indian side is in the eyeball to eyeball situation with the Chinese troops only at one or two locations as at most of the places, two armies are separated by buffer zones. Both sides are also deploying a large number of surveillance drones over the buffer zones to keep an eye on the movement of each others` troops.
Sources said the Chinese are finding the winter deployments very harsh as they are rotating troops at forward locations very fast. During their maiden deployment in the extreme winters in high-altitude locations, they were being rotated almost daily as they were suffering a lot of cold-related injuries.
On the Chinese aggression which started in April-May last year, the Defense Ministry in its Year-End review had stated that unilateral and provocative actions by the Chinese to change the status quo by force, in more than one area on the LAC, has been responded to as an adequate measure.
To resolve the issue, the militaries of the two countries have been engaged in dialogue at various levels. After sustained joint efforts, disengagement was carried out at many locations. Force levels in areas where disengagement has yet to take place have been adequately enhanced.
Threat assessment and internal deliberations have resulted in reorganization and realignment of forces in keeping with the Army`s mandate of ensuring territorial integrity and to cater for the major augmentation of PLA forces and military infrastructure.
Troops continue to deal with Chinese troops in a firm, resolute and peaceful manner while ensuring the sanctity of India`s claims. Upgradation and development of infrastructure along the Northern Borders are being carried out in a holistic and comprehensive manner, including roads, tunnels for all-weather connectivity, four strategic railway lines, additional bridges across the Brahmaputra, up-gradation of bridges on critical Indo-China border roads, and storage for supplies, fuel, and ammunition. Major efforts have also been undertaken to identify dual-use infrastructure.