The Indian Army has put barbed wires as obstacles at heights under its control at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) bordering Ladakh, signalling to the Chinese to not enter its territory as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been making multiple attempts to take over Indian-held positions, sources said.
“This has been done to discourage them from coming close to areas we are occupying. It’s a temporary obstacle to convey our intent to the aggressive manoeuvres by the Chinese,” said an official.
“The message is loud and clear, don’t come into our area,” the official added.
In the Brigade Commander-level meets taking place almost every day since the action of August 29 when Indian Army held on to some strategic heights in the south bank of Pangong Lake, China has been aggressive, stressing that the Indian army must vacate the positions, sources said.
With the Chinese resorting to firing gunshots in the air while trying to take over an Indian position north of Rezang La on September 7, the Indian Army has also conveyed that it will respond in the same manner.
As no breakthrough has been reached in the Brigade Commander talks, there has been a consensus to hold a Corps Commander-level meet for future dialogue.
Till now five meetings at the Corps Commander-level have taken place.
The Indian Army has, in the past few days, dominated heights both at the southern and the northern banks of the Pangong Lake, triggering a series of actions by the Chinese to dislodge Indian troops.
With the Indian counteraction, it’s a battle of occupying the heights on two sides of the Pangong Lake that have been the biggest flashpoint between Indian and Chinese armies since the standoff started in early May.
A fresh build-up of Chinese troops started on the ridgeline of finger area on the northern bank of the Pangong Lake soon after the skirmish on the southern bank that took place on September 7.
While the Chinese continue to sit atop Finger 4 ridgeline, the Indian Army has dominated heights to keep a watch on their movements.
Sources said there has been an enhancement in deployment and increased activities of People’s Liberation Army are clearly visible on the ridgeline of the finger area.
Mountain spurs jutting out into the lake at more than 14,000 feet are referred to as “fingers”.
“Movement of troops, increased numbers and new temporary defences being set up are clearly visible. The increase in deployment by Chinese has been corresponded by the Indian forces,” said a government official privy to the developments.
The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 fingers that are contested by both sides. India claims Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and had been holding on to area till Finger 4 but in a clear alteration of status quo the Chinese have been camping at Finger 4 and have set up fortifications between Finger 5 and 8.
On the south of the lake that has become the new friction point, the Indian Army seems to be in an advantageous position. The Indian Army has occupied heights that allow it to dominate the Chinese Moldo garrison and the Spanggur Gap under Chinese control. Both Indian and China lay claim to some of these heights.
One of the most critical heights the Indian Army is manning is the Rechin La, which the Chinese are protesting against.
From the height, the Indian Army enjoys a vantage point of not just for Chinese army military bases on the south bank of the Pangong Lake but also in range is the Finger 4 area on the north of the lake.