Despite a second meeting on Tuesday between Indian army commanders and their Chinese counterparts, a stand-off in Ladakh continues. New Delhi says soldiers from the People's Liberation Army crossed 10 kilometres (six miles) into Indian territory on April 15 and pitched tents there. Incorrect, says China. India's Army chief discussed the issue with Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Chief Minister yesterday.
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India and China held a second flag meeting on Tuesday to discuss the alleged incursion. Like the earlier meeting on April 18, this one ended without a breakthrough. China says it has not trespassed into Indian territory. "Our troops are patrolling on the Chinese side of the actual line of control and have never trespassed the line," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday.
China has reportedly objected to India's attempts to develop infrastructure such as roads and logistics bases close to the border in the Depsang area, where the incursion had happened. China has also accused India of aggressive patrolling. (Blog: reporting on the Chinese incursion in Ladakh)
The Defence Minister has said negotiations are on at various levels to resolve the issue peacefully. Despite the border stand-off, an Indian army delegation has gone to Beijing to finalise the dates of a bilateral military exercise expected to be held later this year.
Army chief General Bikram Singh met Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra at the Raj Bhavan yesterday and discussed the stand-off. General Singh also called on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and discussed the situation in Leh.
Indian government officials have confirmed that on the night of April 15, two helicopters gave support to over a dozen Chinese soldiers as they set up temporary posts on the Indian side of the disputed border.
"We have asked the Chinese side to maintain the status quo in this sector (of the western border)," Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said today. "By this I mean the status quo prior to this incident."
The de facto border separating China and India is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While it has never been formally demarcated, the countries signed two accords to maintain peace in frontier areas in 1993 and 1996.
On Monday, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "India will take every step to protect its interests." The Indian army has set up its own temporary camp just 500 meters (1600 feet) from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers after the incident on April 15. Though small incursions across the Line of Actual Control are common, it is rare for either country to set up camp so deep within disputed territory.
The assessment in the Indian government is that the Chinese will eventually withdraw but could use this "occupation" to lay claims to the area at a later stage of border negotiations.
The latest border tension has erupted at Daulat Beg Oldie, where India established a landing strip during the 1962 war. At 5,100 metres (16,700 feet), the strip is one of the world's highest. It was reopened in 2008.