Leh: In another incursion, Chinese troops intruded into the Chumar sector in Ladakh--the same area which had sparked off tensions in April--and smashed some bunkers besides cutting wires of cameras installed at the border post.
Official sources said on Tuesday the intrusion took place on June 17 when the troops of China's People's Liberation Army(PLA) entered Indian territory in the Chumar sector and started vandalising the observation bunkers besides cutting the wires which overlook the Chinese territory.
Chumar, located 300 km from here, has always been an area of discomfort for the Chinese troops as this is the only area along the Sino-Indian border where they do not have any direct access to the Line of Actual Control(LAC).
The 21-day face-off between the two sides in the remote Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector on April 15 was triggered by construction of an observation tower in Chumar division which had to be subsequently dismantled by the Army on May 5 before the crisis was defused.
The Chinese side, according to the minutes of the flag meetings in the last week of March this year, had been objecting to the construction of the watch tower along the LAC in Chumar.
After dismantling the observation post and defence bunkers, Army had installed cameras to monitor movement of Chinese troops along the LAC, a step which had irked the PLA.
Chumar, a remote village on Ladakh-Himachal Pradesh border, is being claimed by China as its own territory.
The Chinese side also reportedly resorted to helicopter incursions almost every year.
Last year, it dropped some of the soldiers of PLA in this region and dismantled the makeshift storage tents of the Army and ITBP.
This area is not accessible from the Chinese side whereas the Indian side has a road almost to the last point on which the Army can carry loads upto nine tonnes.
Commenting on the incursion incident, Army sources said the camera deployed in Chumar area was non-functional and after an Indian patrol reported its disappearance, a protest was registered with the Chinese side.
After the protest was registered, the Chinese side returned the camera on July 3, a day before Defence Minister A.K. Antony's visit to China, they said.
Meanwhile, a Defence Ministry official said that during Antony's meetings with the Chinese leadership, the broader issue of incursion and other incidents were raised but no specific incident was highlighted.
The official said the two sides are seeking to address these issues by having ‘strategic communication’ and through efforts to enhance peace and tranquility on the borders.
Talking about Chinese incursions in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said they are a ‘regular feature’. "There is nothing unusual in it...the fact that we are not firing at each other, the fact that there is no tension along the border, I think should be good enough for us," he added.
Asserting that there is a difference in perception on the Sino-Indian border issue, he said there is a need to sort this out diplomatically. "China sees the line differently, we see the line differently...let the diplomats sort this out diplomatically," he told reporters when asked to comment on the latest incursion "We have been making this case time and again that formal border talks must take place. The border must be notified and this uncertainty done away for once and all," he said. "But I don't think we should get too much excited every time there is an incursion because as I said this has been happening for decades and it won't stop until we finally notify the line," he added.
On militant activity in the state, Abdullah said "it is lot less...overall level of militancy has not risen as opposed to last year."
However, he said, there has been a rise in casualties among the security forces this year as compared to last year. "That again is the reflection of the success that security forces have had. It is because these militants are desperate. They want to reduce the morale of the security forces," he added.