Indian, Chinese armies exchange New Year’s gifts amid military build-up in eastern Ladakh

The Indian and Chinese armies camped in Hot Springs and Demchok areas of eastern Ladakh exchanged gifts on New Year’s day amid tensions between the countries which flared in May 2020, resulting in a military build up by both sides.

The exchange of greetings and gifts between personnel from both armies is significant as Hot Springs was one of the friction points in the military tussle that has not yet been resolved.

Even though the Demchok region was not a part of the standoff, the military build up continues and India has pushed for a final resolution to all the contested areas in Ladakh, but China has been reluctant.

India’s stand on working out a complete deescalation plan in eastern Ladakh is not agreeable to China and the stalemate continues.

India had been insisting that a piecemeal disengagement in Pangong Tso, Galwan and Gogra, where buffer zones have been created, would not lead to a final resolution.

China insists on a similar buffer zone for the Hot Springs area.

A buffer zone of 3 to 10 km in these areas means India cannot patrol areas that it traditionally did.

There have been 13 Corps-Commander level meetings but the deadlock continues.

There has been no de-escalation of troops from forward locations and the build up by both sides continues even after the initial disengagement in friction points that ensured troops would pull back.

Since the tensions started last May 2020 in Ladakh, there has been an enhanced troop deployment of more than 50,000 in the sector.

Not just Ladakh, China has been making aggressive moves in the eastern sector bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in the last year.

“Unilateral and provocative actions by the Chinese to change the status quo by force, in more than one area on the Line of Actual Control has been responded in adequate measure,” the Ministry of Defence said in its year-end review.

Responding to the threat based on internal deliberations, the Indian Army has carried out a realignment of forces keeping with the Army’s mandate of ensuring territorial integrity and to cater for the major augmentation of PLA forces and military infrastructure, the defence ministry said. -(IndiaToday)


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