India has lost access to 26 out of 65 patrolling points in the eastern Ladakh region, a senior police officer posted in the Union Territory has said in a research paper, reported NDTV.

PD Nitya, Leh Senior Superintendent of Police, submitted the paper at the annual Director General of Police Conference organised by the Intelligence Bureau held from January 20 to January 22 and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. However, the paper did not come up for discussion, according to The Hindu.

In her report, Nitya said that Indian security forces are no longer able to patrol 26 patrolling points located between the Karakoram Pass and the Chumur region in eastern Ladakh – a major flashpoint of border conflicts between India and China.

She added that these areas, which once used to be patrolled by the Indian forces, have now been turned into “informal buffer zones”.

“Later on, China forces us to accept the fact that as such areas have not seen the presence of ISFs [Indian security forces] or civilians since long, the Chinese were present in these areas,” the paper noted, according to The Hindu.

This leads to a shift in the area under India’s control and a buffer zone is created, the paper said. “This tactic of PLA [China’s People’s Liberation Army] to grab land inch-by-inch is known as salami slicing,” it added.

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Indo-China tensions

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.

After several rounds of talks, India and China had disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in February and Gogra in August in eastern Ladakh.

However, in December, the troops of the two sides engaged in a fresh conflict in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.

According to India’s defence ministry, Chinese soldiers attempted to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control in the Tawang sector on December 9 by encroaching on the area, following which Indian troops retaliated.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament on December 13 that the clash led to “minor injuries” to a few soldiers on both sides. After the face-off, both sides immediately disengaged from the area, he added.

On its part, China alleged that Indian troops illegally crossed a disputed border in the Tawang sector, leading to the scuffle.