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LAC Showdown: Is Pangong Tso Just A Smoke Screen And Depsang China’s Main Target? | India News

NEW DELHI: The strategically located Depsang Plains in Ladakh found no mention in the detailed statements of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament despite Chinese soldiers blocking all Indian patrols there since April and a massive mobilization of the two rival armies in the region.
A senior defense official, asked about this by TOI on Thursday, said Depsang was an “old persistent problem” that should not be “equated or combined” with the “new hot spots” in Pangong Tso-Chushul, Gogra- Hotsprings and the Galwan Valley area. this year.
“There is no immediate military showdown in Depsang, where there are huge overlapping claims about the Royal Line of Control (LAC). There is no new attempt to change the status quo there, ”he added.
But there is growing concern in security circles that China could divert India’s attention from the far more important Depsang region through its aggressive maneuvers in Pangong Tso-Chushul and other lower areas along the the border in Ladakh.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been actively blocking Indian soldiers in Depsang for the past five months from going to their traditional Patrol Points 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13, which are well below claim. from LAC of India further east from there. , as TOI already reported.
PLA troops camped near the ‘bottleneck’ or ‘Y-crossing’ area in Depsang, which lies about 18 km within what India perceives as its territory, spring into action to block an Indian patrol every time they see her approach.
China, in fact, claims 972 square kilometers of territory in the region. One of Beijing’s main concerns is that the Depsang-Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector is very close to its Western Highway G-219, which connects the Tibetan Autonomous Region with Xinjiang.
The PLA has deployed more than 12,000 soldiers, with tanks and artillery cannons, from its 4th Motorized Infantry Division and 6th Mechanized Infantry Division, in their deep areas throughout LAC.
Since May, India has also been deployed with two additional brigades (each has around 3,000 soldiers), as well as tank and mechanized infantry regiments on the Depsang mesa plateau, which located at an altitude of 16,000 feet provides access to the BOD’s advanced landing ground. and the critical Karakoram pass in the north.
“India could be playing into China’s hands in trying to wean Depsang from the friction points to the south and allow the PLA to get away with it,” another official said.
“Unlike the Line of Control with Pakistan, which is physically maintained with permanent deployments, the only way to press our claim throughout LAC is to patrol up to our PP. But access to our PP has been cut off in Depsang, ”he added.
The last major troop clash on the Depsang Plains, by the way, took place in April-May 2013. PLA troops had invaded 19 km through LAC to camp in the Raki Nalla area, and the clash finally broke down. resolved after 21 days of hectic diplomatic negotiations.

Times of India