Chinese troops were spotted at Barahoti in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on July 19 onward, unidentified high-ranking Indo-Tibetan Border Police officials told The incursion took place amid the standoff between the two countries’ armies in the tri-junction area at Doklam, Sikkim.

By July 30, officials reported four incursions in the area, forcing the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to rush troops there. The ITBP monitors a nearly 400 kilometre-long section in the area and part of the Line of Actual Control that divides India and China.

The incursions were not alarming and have been common for almost 10 years, ITBP officials said. The Barahoti ridge, which overlooks Tibet, lies north of the Nandadevi national park, and troops trek to it from the last motorable point. The ridge is connected to Joshimath, which houses major Indian Army formations meant to counter any major operations by China’s People’s Liberation Army.

On July 19, government officials found People’s Liberation Army troops on the Barahotio pasture ground and asked them to move back. The officials informed the ITBP, who then sent across a patrol to check the area. There were more incursions on July 22, July 24 and finally on July 30. ITBP officials said that Indian and Chinese perceptions of the LAC differ, which leads to frequent incursions in the area.

The Sikkim standoff

Both India and China have maintained that troops from the other country had transgressed into their territory in the Doklam area.

Bilateral ties have been strained since the Indian Army stopped China from constructing a road in the region. New Delhi has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road up to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction through the Doklam plateau.