New Delhi: As Indian and Chinese senior military began their eighth round of discussions for a possible resolution of the six-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh on Friday morning, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat attributed the tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to “transgressions and belligerent actions by the Chinese” and said India will not accept any change in the LAC and that status quo has to be restored.

He underlined that a large scale conflict cannot be ruled out, and also stressed that collusion between Pakistan and China poses an “omnipresent danger”.

Speaking at a seminar to mark the 60th anniversary of India’s premier strategic thinking institute National Defence College, of which Rawat is an alumnus, the CDS said that “in the overall security calculus a full-scale conflict with China is low on probability, however, border confrontations, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiraling into a larger conflict cannot be discounted”.

“The situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh remains tense amidst transgressions and belligerent actions by the Chinese,” he said, and added that the Peoples Liberation Army “is facing unanticipated consequences of its misadventure in Ladakh because of Indian Army’s firm and strong response”.

“Our posturing is unambiguous, status quo has to be restored and we will not accept any shifting of the LAC,” the CDS said.

In reference to the joint threat posed by Pakistan and China, Rawat said that “India faces myriad external security challenges” and mentioned “constant friction with two of our nuclear armed neighbours with whom India has fought wars” are “increasingly acting in collusion” and it “poses an omnipresent danger of regional strategic instability with potential for escalation, threatening our territorial integrity and strategic cohesion”.

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Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army heavily deployed its troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh’s Chushul district, which was followed by Indian Army changing its positions from “border management” to “border securing,” a Hindustan Times report read.

China has been deploying fighter and bomber aircraft to its bases in Tibet ever since tension over Ladakh started rising in May, The Week reported.

Earlier, China demanded that India withdraw its armed forces personnel from China-India border in order to avoid escalation of tensions.

China has reportedly built surface-to-air missiles near a lake, which is a part of the Kailash-Mansarovar.

On August, 31, Indian army informed that Chinese troops “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” near Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, and they were blocked by the Indian armed forces personnel manning the area, the government said.

A Brigade Commander level Flag Meeting was later held at Chushul to resolve the issues, as per the Government of India situation update.

As New Delhi claims that both India and China will “continue to sincerely work towards complete disengagement” of armed forces personnel, talks aimed at resolving the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, has so far yielded no results.

A Chinese diplomat reacting to the standoff in Ladakh had said that the move is linked to the Indian government’s unilateral decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.

The move changed the laws that prohibited Indians from buying land in Kashmir, and made the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir defunct, triggering fears of demographic change in the Muslim majority region of Kashmir.

When India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year, the Chinese foreign ministry had issued two statements criticising the development, including one that focused on the splitting of the state into union territories.

This statement, while urging India to be “cautious” on the border issue and to avoid “actions that further complicate the border issue”, said: “China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border.”

This was a reference to the area in Ladakh that New Delhi claims but is controlled by Beijing.

 

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