China camping 19 km inside Indian territory, house panel told news
26 April 2013

Chinese troops have set up camp 19 km inside Indian territory in the glacial Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, a parliamentary committee was told today.

Efforts are underway to ensure that there is no escalation of border tensions, defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and other senior government officials informed the parliamentary standing committee on defence.

They said India has deployed additional forces to "keep a close watch on the border".

Bharatiya Janata Party members Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Prakash Javadekar asked the officials about the situation on the ground in the Depsang sector of Ladakh, where China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) encroached a week ago.

The meeting of the committee was cut short as members were dissatisfied with the insufficient information provided by the officials. They were asked to report back at the next meeting of the standing committee on 30 May with more exact details.

The officials told the committee that Indian Army patrols on 16 April reported the presence of the PLA in Depsang, and pitched tents 19km inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

They said the issue has been taken up at the level of flag meetings and through diplomatic channels to maintain the earlier status quo and resolve the issue through existing mechanisms.

Tellingly, the defence ministry officials told the parliamentary committee that China disputes the LAC demarcations as perceived by India in the virtually uninhabitable high Himalaya, the highest battlefield in the world.

The officials said there are a few areas along the LAC where India and China have differing perceptions.

The agenda for today's standing committee meeting was the welfare of armed forces personnel serving in inhospitable areas; but the issue of Chines incursion was added after Naqvi and Javadekar demanded a clear picture of the situation and how the government is handling it.

Naqvi and Javadekar wrote to standing committee chairman Raj Babbar on Thursday saying the situation in Ladakh is "very serious" but the government is not taking it seriously enough.

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China camping 19 km inside Indian territory, house panel told