New Delhi: Six infantry battalions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, supported by artillery and air defense units, remain crowded in the North Bank of the Pangong Lake in East Ladakh.
The PLA battalions may not be up to strength. But even if they’re just about 500 soldiers strong, it still adds up to about 3000 infantrymen entrenched in the heights overlooking Finger 4 and behind those positions.
They are backed by an artillery battalion (the Chinese have artillery and armored battalions as opposed to regiments) and additional artillery companies dug in close to the Finger 7 area.
There is also the presence of strong air-defense units in the North Bank. There are large numbers of HQ-16 medium-range surface-to-air missiles in the area.
The PLA moved from Finger 8 to Finger 4 in May, moving back just a little bit to establish itself on the heights overlooking Finger 4. India wants the entire PLA detachment to move back to Finger 8. The proposals suggest it could happen in the second phase of disengagement and de-escalation.
The North Bank is one of the ‘contact points,’ with Indian troops quite close to where the Chinese are. And that’s the way the two armies have been for the last six months.