Tension on Ladakh LACApprox Read Time: 6 minutes
In News: Tension on Ladakh LAC
- Recently Indian and Chinese troops have clashed at two points along the Line of Actual Control (one in the Naku La sector which is a mountain pass in Sikkim and in a contested area near Pangong Tso, a lake in Ladakh,) leaving personnel injured on both sides.
- After a week of the incident, tensions remain high in the region, as two Su-30MKI of the IAF from the Leh airbase were also airborne in the area and additional troops remain on alert for any contingency.
- However, the Indian Army has clarified that there is no build-up of armed troops in the area.
- Due to the differing perceptions of the alignment of boundaries (between India and China) which are not resolved, there were two incidents at Eastern Ladakh (near Pangong Tso) and North Sikkim (Naku La sector).
- Aggressive behaviour was shown by both sides resulted in minor injuries to troops post which both sides disengaged after dialogue and interaction at local level.
- After the incident, two Su-30MKI of the IAF from the Leh airbase were also airborne in the area.
- However, IAF sources maintained there was no airspace violation by either side, and it undertook routine training flying in the area on May 5.
- Under the existing arrangement between India and China, no fighter aircraft can come within 10 km of the LAC without prior intimation to either side. For helicopters, the distance to be maintained from the LAC is 1 km.
Recent steps taken by India and China to ensure peace at LAC:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in their informal Summits in Wuhan (2018) and in Chennai (2019), had reaffirmed both sides will continue to make efforts to ensure peace in the border areas.
- The two leaders had also directed their militaries to implement confidence building measures agreed upon and strengthen institutional arrangements and information sharing mechanisms to prevent incidents in border regions.
- The two sides have established mechanisms to resolve such situations as and when they arise.
- On account of difference in perception of the alignment of the Line of Actual Control, situations have arisen on the ground that could have been avoided if we had a common perception of the LAC.
- Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a 4,057-km porous border running through glaciers, snow deserts, mountains and rivers separate India and China.
- Areas under LAC:
- The LAC traverses three areas — Western (Ladakh, Kashmir), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal)
- The LAC, starting from northwest of the Karakoram pass and ending at Arunachal Pradesh, has not been demarcated and is virtually passed on by word of mouth.
- This has led to differing perceptions regarding the alignment, with China making territorial claims in at following areas.
- These are those areas where regular incursions and face-offs take place. They include:
- Arunachal Pradesh: Asaphila, Longju, Namka Chu, Sumdorong Chu, Yangste
- Uttarakhand: Barahoti
- Ladakh: Aksai Chin and Demchok and Pangong Lake
- This has sharpened in last few years ever since India has started building military infrastructure along the LAC in response to China’s defence build-up and deployment of troops.
- China illegally occupies 38,000 sqkm of land in Jammu & Kashmir. It also holds 5,180km of Indian territory in PoK under the Sino-Pak agreement of 1963.
India China dispute over Pangong Lake:
- The LAC cuts through Pangong Tso, with the 45-km long western portion of the lake under Indian control and the rest under Chinese control but India and China do not agree on its exact location.
- The mountains sloping on the banks of the lake form finger-like structures.
- India claims that the LAC is co-terminus with Finger 8, but it physically controls area only up to Finger 4.
- Thus, India controls area only up to ‘Finger 4’, which is a bone of contention between India and China as both claim it to be a part of their territory. Chinese border posts are at Finger 8, while Indian border posts are located close to Finger 3.
- The Chinese claim that the LAC passes through Finger 2.
- The area between the two differing perceptions is the disputed territory which both armies try to dominate through regular patrolling.