The Line of Actual Control (LAC) might remain vulnerable to face-offs just like the Line of Control with Pakistan if it isn’t delineated at the earliest, said General (Retd) VP Malik, former chief of army staff who led the forces during the 1999 Kargil intrusion.
Asked if the Chinese have technically “occupied” the area at the current friction point in Ladakh, he said any intrusion across the LAC and then the Indian side trying to ‘defend it’ would be considered occupation.
“My impression is that north of Pangong Tso, PLA troops have occupied ‘disputed area’ between Finger 4 and 8 where both sides were patrolling till recently. In Galwan valley, they have taken up positions along the track from Shyok River to the LAC thus denying our patrols the ability to move up to the LAC,” he told the daily.
Asked if India didn’t consider a reaction by China given India’s increased activity along the LAC, Malik said that the current intrusions are at the ‘tactical’ level.
“PLA violations of LAC in Galwan Valley and north of Pangong Tso are at the tactical level. With long gaps existing between posts held by our troops and inability to keep every bit of area under 24/7 surveillance, such tactical intrusions are always possible. Our troops, if ordered, can also do that,” he told the newspaper.
Malik said that China’s reaction can also be traced back to its displeasure over the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and dividing the state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
China had called the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution “unacceptable” last year.
“When India abrogated Article 370 and created Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, China called it “unacceptable.” Development of infrastructure along the Northern border, including the road from Pithoragarh to Lipulekh Pass, indicates India’s strategic intent to provide greater security to its territories. These activities by India close to LAC/India-China border could be part of the reasons for the current aggressive posturing,” he said.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)