(This article is originally published Hindustan times)
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) escalated the situation in the sensitive Ladakh theatre by using unorthodox weapons against Indian soldiers and amassing a large number of troops during the ongoing border standoff along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC), the defence ministry said in a year-end review of major developments.
While the ministry did not elaborate on the unorthodox weapons used, the PLA troops attacked Indian soldiers with stones, iron rods and nail-studded clubs during skirmishes in Pangong Tso and the Galwan Valley last year.
The PLA attempted to alter the status quo in the sector by force but the Indian Army was well-entrenched to counter any misadventure by the adversary
In its review, published on January 1, the ministry said the Indian Army assisted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) mobilised troops, accretionary forces, artillery guns, tanks and ammunition at a swift pace to deal with the emerging situation. Roads, habitat and bridges were constructed quickly to support the enhanced troop deployment.
“Unilateral and provocative actions by the Chinese to change the status quo by force in more than one area on the LAC were responded to in a firm and non-escalatory way, ensuring the sanctity of our claims in Eastern Ladakh,” the ministry said, adding that the Indian Army stuck to the protocols and agreements between the two countries even as the PLA took escalatory actions.
The ministry elaborated on the steps taken by the Indian Army to occupy strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso, thwarting China’s expansionist aims.
The ministry said that Indian troops, in a precautionary deployment on August 28-19, “pre-empted Chinese expansionist designs” and occupied heights along southern bank of Pangong Tso.
“Braving inclement weather, own troops continue to be deployed on these heights. Advance winter stocking (AWS) and winter preparations for the enhanced strength has been completed and troops are well entrenched to counter any misadventure by Chinese forces,” the review said.