The situation at the India-China border in Nathu La, Sikkim, has been relatively calm since the 73-day Doklam standoff ended on August 28, 2017. However, the People's Liberation Army seems to have now moved on to the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh, where soldiers are said to have intruded about 500 metres into the Indian side in July and even pitched about five tents in the area.
Sources told ANI that the Chinese soldiers crossed over to the Indian side pretending to be nomads grazing their cattle, but did not retreat even though the Indian Army conducted banner drills asking them to go back.
A few soldiers then went back with three of the tents only after the issue was raised with the nation and brigadier-level talks were held between the two armies. However, two tents are still pitched in the area and "some Chinese troops in civvies" are also present.
"The PLA removed three of the tents only after India pushed for talks between the rival brigade commanders," sources told the Times of India. Meanwhile, the Chinese army had reportedly complained about the Ladakh administration and said that it was trying to build a road in the Nerlong area.
Demchok is one of the "disputed and sensitive areas" along with 22 others at the LAC that stretches from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. The other areas in Ladakh are Trig Heights, Chumar, Spanggur Gap, Dumchele and Pangong Tso.
These areas witness Chinese transgressions quite often and on August 15, 2017, a major scuffle took place between the soldiers of the two countries along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed on the northern bank of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh and there were also incidents of stone pelting in the clash.
"There was a scuffle between the two sides, which included some stone-pelting as well after Indian soldiers blocked two attempts by People's Liberation Army troops to enter Indian territory at the Finger-4 and Finger-5 areas early in the morning," a source had, at the time, told the Times of India
"Personnel from both sides received some injuries in the stone-pelting. The rival troops later pulled back from the confrontation site after banner drills to defuse the situation."
China had then denied the incident and said that it was not aware of the troops entering into the Indian territory. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hu Chunying had said that the nation was was committed to peace and tranquillity along the border and that India should do the same. "We urge the Indian side abide by the LAC and relevant conventions between the two sides."
The latest incursion comes days after it was said that Chinese troops had resumed construction activities at Doklam and the People's Liberation Army had scaled up its activities at the border.
Confirming the same, sources told News18 that China is indeed resuming its projects and has once again begun constructing roads in the area. It was revealed that a "major construction" work on the 12-kilometre stretch started on March 23 and the PLA is looking to connect Doklam with a Chinese military base named Yatung.
The sources added that the Chinese have come with all the required materials – over 10 construction vehicles, five temporary sheds, 30 other heavy vehicles and about 90 tents that house the army and the construction workers. It has also been said that some of the tents have been put up just to conceal the work from Indian satellites.