New Delhi/Jammu: Describing as "face to face" the situation arising out of incursion by Chinese troops in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in Ladakh, India on Tuesday asked China to maintain the earlier status quo.

China denies incursion, crisis deepens

Hoping that the situation with China would be resolved peacefully, India said it can be done under the agreements signed by both countries. The recent Chinese incursion was due to differences on alignment of Line of Actual Control, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said.

He added that incident was a "localised event" in a sector where there are differing perceptions on LAC. "We see this as a face to face situation between border forces of both countries," he said. Speaking about the steps taken by the government since the incident on April 15, Akbaruddin said India has asked China to maintain status quo as it was before the incursion. He underlined that the India-China border continues to remain peaceful. India had raised the issue with China last week immediately after the incident of Chinese incursion came to light.

April 15: Intrusion first reported
April 18: First flag meeting post report
April 18 evening: Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai summoned the Chinese ambassador
April 22: Defence Minister AK Antony assured to take every step to protect India’s interests
April 22: Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying refuted India’s claim
April 23: Indian and Chinese armies held a brigadier-level flag meeting at Daulat Beg Oldie
April 23: India asks China to revert to the status quo position in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in Ladakh

Apart from summoning the Chinese Ambassador to South Block, the Joint Secretary in MEA, who is heading the India-China joint working mechanism to deal with issues on the boundary from the Indian side, spoke to his counterpart in Beijing last week, emphasising on the need to resolve the issue. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai had summoned Chinese Ambassador Wei Wei to South Block and stressed the need for resolving the issue.

A platoon-strength contingent of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside the Indian territory in Burthe in DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15 and established a tented post there, according to highly placed sources.

Indian, Chinese army officers meet

Senior officers of the Indian and Chinese armies held a flag meeting in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. India hoped that the issue would be resolved peacefully as has happened with such incidents in the past. The brigadier-level meeting was held at Daulat Beg Oldie, the highest airstrip in the world at 5,100 metres that India reactivated in 2008, sources said.

Flag meetings are a mechanism to deal with emergent situations. They supplement the border personnel meetings that are held twice a year at various points along the India-China border. "Overall, India-China border area continues to remain peaceful. Similar incidents in the past have been resolved peacefully and we hope to resolve this incident too peacefully," Akbaruddin said.

Army Chief reviews operational readiness in J&K

Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Tuesday reviewed the operational preparedness of the force along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. A defence spokesperson said that Gen Singh - who is on a two-day visit of Jammu region - visited border areas in Rajouri and interacted with the troops guarding the LoC. The LoC is important in the security scheme of things in Jammu and Kashmir because terrorists trained and armed in Pakistan infiltrate India via Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) through this route.

Gen Singh, who arrived here on Tuesday, will be interacting with Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and share the army's perception about the situation along the LoC and in the hinterland, and security challenges that lie ahead, according to sources in the army.

He also said that the army chief took stock of the operational and logistics preparedness and was briefed by the formation commanders on the situation along the LoC. The sources added that apart from the overall situation along the LoC, the issue of the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers  Act (AFSPA) that works as a legal shield for soldiers for their acts of omission and commission during the anti-terrorism operations, would also be discussed.

Omar Abdullah wants a "phased removal of AFSPA" from parts of Jammu and Kashmir "where army has not operated for years". However, the army has its own reservations on revoking the AFSPA because of the fragile situation in Pakistan and the expected pullout of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014.


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