Councillor says PLA replaces China border police in Ladakh

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Leh, Sep 9 (ANI): With fresh reports of incursion in Ladakh region, a local councillor has reiterated that Chinese troops frequently intrude into Indian territory and even threaten Indian shepherds.

"Last year when shepherds from 5-6 villages were grazing cattle in our winter pasture area ...then Chinese troops troubled them, they (Chinese troops) pressurised our villagers to leave the place," said Nawang Norboo, a Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) representing Nyoma block, said in Demchok village.

Norboo said Beijing seems to have beefed troops along the border.

"One change we witnessed during last one year is that when we asked our villagers about their interaction with the Chinese troops then they told us that earlier they had an interaction with Chinese Border Police but for the first time they saw troops of the People's Liberation Army in the area," he added.

Officials sources have said that Chinese troops entered nearly 1.5 kilometres into the Indian territory near Mount Gya, which is recognised as the international border by India and China, and painted the word 'China' in Cantonese on the boulders and rocks there with red spray paint. The incursions were reported from the area generally referred in the Chumar sector east of Leh.

The 22,420 ft Mount Gya, also known as "fair princess of snow" by the Army is located at the tri-junction of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and Tibet.

The boundary was marked during the British era and is regarded as International border by the two countries.

The border patrol discovered the red paint markings on various rocks and boulders along the Zulung La (pass) on July 31 and the Chinese had entered into the area and written "China" all over the place, the sources said.

Indian soldiers later erased the text, writing 'India' instead.

This is not the first such reported intrusion. On June 21 Chinese helicopters had violated the Indian air space along the Line of Actual Control in Chumar region. The Chinese troops also reportedly dropped expired tinned food packets in the area.

Some people feel that lack of infrastructure is the cause for Chinese incursions.

External Affairs Minister S. M Krishna has sought to play down the alleged incursion by a Chinese helicopter in Ladakh, saying that there is an inbuilt mechanism to deal with it.

Talking to reporters outside his South Block office, Krishna said: "This (India-China boundary in Ladakh) is one of the peaceful boundaries. We have no dispute with China in this area. There is an inbuilt mechanism to deal with such issues.

Krishna's remarks came as the Indian Army said that its Northern commander, Lt-Gen. P. C. Bhardwaj will visit the Leh-based 14 Corps headquarters over the next few days to verify reports of Chinese incursion in the Ladakh area.

Krishna and other sources said the matter would also be raised at the next border meeting between Indian and Chinese officials. (ANI)

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