While all the attention remains at Galwan valley, the Chinese PLA has quietly built permanent structures inside the Indian territory between Finger 4 and 8 near the Pangong Tso lake. According to reports citing fresh satellite images, the Chinese have constructed a marina-like facade near the Pangong Tso lake and dug up defences along the ridgeline. They have also constructed a motorable road.
Not just that, the Chinese have created boat sheds and camps on the beachside at Finger 4, where the Indian Army and PLA soldiers had clashed in 2017. The new structure means that the Indian Army will not be able to patrol beyond Finger 3.
The Line of Actual Control or LAC starts at Finger 8 but China contends it begins at Finger 2. The PLA troops have also constructed bunkers along the ridge on Finger 4, which gives them the advantage to view the area and in case of any eventuality better position to fire at the Indian troops.
This new construction work by the Chinese was carried out after the May 5 clash between the Indian Army and Chinese PLA soldiers. Blows were exchanged by the soldiers of the two sides after Indian patrolling party was stopped by the Chinese Army from crossing Finger 4, located more than 5 km inside the Indian territory. Security forces are said to be concerned about the new build-up of military defences by China on the heights near Finger 4.
"No one entered Indian territory"
The fact that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to admit that the Chinese have entered the Indian side of the border. The critics have termed Modi's remarks a clean chit to the Chinese and an insult to the Indian soldiers who led down their lives while protecting the country's border.
After the killings of 20 Indian Army soldiers by the Chinese, PM Modi had called an all-party meeting. After the meet, the prime minister had said that no one entered Indian territory and that no border posts were occupied.
"Neither has anyone entered our territory nor is anyone in control of our border posts," Modi had said without elaborating that if the Chinese didn't enter Indian territory and occupied border posts, why 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Opposition parties have since slammed PM Modi for his remarks and accused him of surrendering "Indian territory" to Chinese aggression. "If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?" former Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked.
Centre clarifies after criticism
After the controversy over Modi's remark, his office clarified and said that "attempts are being made to give a mischievous interpretation" to comments made by the PM after the all-party meeting.
"As regards transgression of LAC (Line of Actual Control), it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on 15 June arose because Chinese side was seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions," the government said in a statement.
20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with the Chinese at Galwan Valley in Ladakh earlier this week. The Chinese side also suffered casualties including dead and injured but their government has not revealed the numbers. Galwan Valley falls well inside the Indian side of the LAC but China has now claimed the territory, leading to the tensions at the border.