India, as of the moment, does not have access to 26 out of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh. The situation is worthy of mention considering India-China stand-off along the 3500 km border.
“Presently there are 65 PPs (Patrolling Points) starting from Karakoram pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs (Indian Security Forces). Out of 65 PPs, our presence is lost in 26 PPs (i.e. PP no. 5-17, 24-32, 37, due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISFs,” wrote PD Nitya, the Superintendent of Police of Leh, Ladakh’s main city, in a research paper accessed by media.
The report was filed at last week's annual conference of the country's top police officers in Delhi, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
"Later on, China forces us to accept the fact that as such areas have not seen the presence of ISFs or civilians since long, the Chinese were present in these areas. This leads to a shift in the border under control of ISFs towards Indian side and a "buffer zone" is created in all such pockets which ultimately leads to loss of control over these areas by India. This tactic of PLA (China's People's Liberation Army) to grab land inch-by-inch is known as 'Salami slicing'," it said.
"PLA has taken advantage of the buffer areas in the de-escalation talks by placing their best of cameras on the highest peaks and monitoring the movement of our forces... they object our movement even in the buffer zone, claiming it to be 'their' area of operation and then further ask us to move back to create more 'buffer' areas," the officer wrote.
She said this Chinese strategy was seen in Galwan Valley, the site of a deadly clash in 2020 when 20 Indian troops and at least four Chinese soldiers died in hand-to-hand fighting.
Ms Nitya also said that marking areas as out of bounds and keeping them barren affects troop morale as well. "During an interaction with one senior officer whose unit is based right on forward area, he shared that, if by retreating 400 metres back, we can buy peace with PLA for 4 years, then it's worth it," the report said.
The report was released after a mere few weeks of India accusing China of “unilaterally changing the status-quo” on the Line of Actual Control (LOC).
The encounter in the Galwan Valley in 2020, which sparked a major uptick in tensions between the two nations, was considered to be the most serious confrontation since the December 9 incident in Arunachal Pradesh. Since then, there have been a number of military negotiations that have resulted in a cautious withdrawal of forces on both sides.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi accused PM Modi of being the weakest PM India has had for “ceding land to China”.
Delhi chief minister (CM) and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal also accused the Centre of continuing and increasing trade with Beijing despite Chinese aggression.
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