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Wire service Press Trust of India reported that Chinese troops had entered 25 to 30 km into Indian territory in the Burtse area of north Ladakh, pitched tents and held up flags that read, "This is Chinese territory, go back." The area is at an altitude of 17,000 feet.
Sources said Chinese troops had indeed entered Indian territory on Sunday and pitched four tents with flags on them claiming that this was their territory. They were there for about 24 hours before returning, the sources said.
"No incursion or encroachment of Indian Territory by China has taken place along the India-China border," an Army spokesperson said.
He, however, said that because there is a difference in the way the two countries perceive the disputed border called the Line of Actual Control or LAC, "transgressions do occur" from time to time. India, he said, regularly takes up any transgression with China through established mechanisms such as flag meetings, border personnel meetings and normal diplomatic channels.
PTI reported that an Indian patrol spotted the People's Liberation Army (PLA) personnel on Sunday, but adhering to newly-drafted Standard Operating Procedures, returned to their base. When they checked again on Monday, the Chinese soldiers were sitting on the ground, holding up the flags, PTI said.
A Quick Reaction Team that had accompanied the Indian team failed to make any headway with the Chinese, who refused to budge from their position, the agency reported. It said the Indian troops finally returned to their base and informed senior officers.
The Burtse area, which is adjacent to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), forms part of the huge Depsang plains which India says is its territory. But the Chinese dispute this. The area includes an air field which was operationalised by the Indian Air Force last year for a short while.
In April last year, the stand-off over the Chinese troops pitching tents for 21 days here led to diplomatic tension. The Chinese returned only after four flag meetings between the two sides.
To deal with such incidents, India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement or BDCA in October last year.
In July this year, General Bikram Singh became the first Indian Army chief to visit China in nine years. 2014 is the Year of Friendly Exchanges between China and India.
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