DHARAMSHALA, July 11: Even as high-level delegates from India and China exchanged visits following the military stand-off between the two countries in April, Indian army has reported another incursion by Chinese troops in the Chumar sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to reports, Chinese troops intruded into the Leh-Ladakh sector on June 17 and took away a non-functioning solar CCTV camera placed about 6 km ahead of an Indian post.
Two days later, India brought up the issue of the missing camera at a routine meeting of border personnel and China returned it on July 3 in Chusul area following “furious negotiations” between the two sides.
The Chinese patrol was proficient in Hindi and reportedly threatened locals, asking them to vacate the area, claiming it to be their own.
This latest flare up took place even as several high-level visits and exchanges between the two countries took place, including the visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang to India and recent visits by Defence Minister A K Antony and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to China.
Strategic affairs analyst Brahma Chellaney said the incident appears to have been hushed up to facilitate the visits of the NSA and the Defence Minister.
"The incident happened on June 17. It was kept under wraps till today. This was done so that first the National Security Advisor and then the Defence Minister could visit Beijing. The question it raises is why are we persisting on engaging with Beijing when they are sending the wrong signal repeatedly? After the April-May incident, we should have reassessed the process of engagement with China and what it is yielding.
Instead, we have sent the NSA and Defence Minister and announced that we are resuming joint military exercises with China in October. All of this only reinforces the Chinese perception that India can be pushed around," Chellaney said.
In April this year, a Chinese platoon had entered and set up camp about 19 km into Indian territory in the Depsang Valley and had refused to budge for about three weeks despite repeated requests from India.
After a 21-day face-off during which there were intense negotiations amid increasing tension, China agreed to withdraw its platoon. In return, India agreed to dismantle seven bunkers that it was building in the Chumar sector.
To avoid future confrontations, India and China will be setting up a hotline between officers at the level of Director General of Military Operations following agreement on the need for having "strategic communication" for building mutual trust between the two sides during the recent Defence Minister-level talks.
India has recorded well over 600 "transgressions" by PLA troops across the LAC - from Arunachal Pradesh to Ladakh - in the last three years.