New Delhi: Despite recent statements by Beijing of its intent to improve ties with New Delhi, reports of Chinese incursion into Indian territory continue. Sources have told NDTV that Chinese troops crossed over into Chumar sector in Ladakh region thrice - on July 16, 18, and 20 - in the last five days. On each of these occasions, the soldiers intruded about three kilometres into the Indian side and spent several hours before going back.
The reported incursions in Chumar come on the back of the Indian Army getting the go-ahead to raise a 50,000-strong Mountain Strike Corps along the border with China. The move is a major boost to the Army's war-fighting capabilities along the Line of Actual Control that has witnessed several instances of incursion by Chinese troops.
The first of these three reported incursions, in fact, coincided with the announcement of the new formation. Around 50 Chinese soldiers, riding on horses and ponies, reportedly entered Chumar on July 16 and stayed there till the 17th. Sources say they were carrying placards which asked Indian forces to leave the "occupied territories".
Army sources confirmed the incursion saying Indian troops had intercepted the PLA patrol in Chumar and after the usual banner drill between the two sides, the patrol party went back into their territory.
India is likely to raise the issue of incursions at a flag meeting of troops on both sides.
Chumar, located 300km from Leh, has been an area where there are major differences in perception on both sides over what the Line of Actual Control is. But what has alarmed New Delhi is the frequency of the incursions - a similar incident was also reported in June.
The construction of bunkers there by the Indian side was, in fact, said to be the major trigger for the Chinese incursion in April. The 21-day face-off ended after intense negotiations with India agreeing to dismantle the bunkers in return for withdrawal of Chinese troops.