Indian Army has reportedly occupied critical heights overlooking the PLA Army positions at Finger 4 along the Pangong lake. As per reports, the pre-emptive operations to seize critical heights were carried near the Southern bank of Pangong Tso around August-end.
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“Indian Army has occupied heights overlooking the Chinese Army positions at Finger 4 along the Pangong Tso. These operations were carried out along with the pre-emptive actions to occupy heights near the Southern bank of Pangong Tso around August-end,” a source told ANI.
Earlier, there were reports that PLA troops had conquered the heights near Finger 4 but the Indian Army has now occupied the heights which overlook Chinese positions. The Chinese have been sitting at Finger 4 from around April-May but have rejected to disengage from there and other friction points in the eastern Ladakh sector.
As India, China tensions continue to escalate, former Indian Army’s satellite imagery analyst claimed to have called out China’s bluff of Indian troops trespassing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the intervening night of 29-30 August.
“Indian troops intruded in the China-controlled Galwan Valley on August 31, which broke the promises and consensus reached by two sides after rounds of dialogue,” Western Theater Command spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili said in a statement. He blamed Indian troops for the clash and “demanded” India to immediately withdraw troops that had “illegally intruded the Chinese border.”
Col Vinayak Bhat (Retd) and his team at India Today analyzed the satellite images and called out the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on its bluff. According to him, the handles on the Chinese social media platform, Weibo, showed two low-resolution images of August 29 and September 2 possibly from Gaofen-2 satellites.
“These satellite images show possible Indian bivouacs, or temporary shelter/camp, on the top of Camel’s Back on the LAC and some bivouacs at the base towards the Indian side. Nowhere do these images show Indian troops crossing the LAC. The images clearly indicate that the bivouacs are on the LAC,” he stated.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry Of Defense, on the Night of 29/30 August 2020, PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo. The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity, it added.
Bhat and his team also called out another “PLA deceit”. According to him, the satellite images of September 1 showed a post being constructed by the PLA south of Spanggur Tso and north of Rezang La.
“The PLA troops were possibly busy constructing a new road across the Spanggur Gap from the Chinese BPM building towards the Black Top,” he wrote. Comparing the two images, he pointed out that a new road was visible in the satellite imagery of September 1 which can’t be seen in the image from August 22.
“This new road construction now is very clearly visible on satellite images of September 1 and measures almost 1.5km long,” he emphasized.
Colonel Aman Anand (PRO, Indian Army) described the incident saying, “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground.”
Col Bhat echoed a similar sentiment saying that road construction “during cloudy and inclement weather probably indicated the Chinese PLA’s intentions to occupy these heights” and the Indian security forces took measures to push them back gaining advantageous ground all along the southern side of Spanggur Tso.
Inputs from Indian News Agency – ANI, Economic Times and ANI.