Chinese security forces intruded about 500 metres into Demchok area in southeastern Ladakh in July, The Times of India reported on Monday, quoting unidentified defence ministry officials. The Chinese soldiers reportedly posed as graziers and pitched five tents before leaving the Cherdung Nullah grazing grounds, which is located on the southeastern part of the Tso Moriri Lake.
The Indian security forces were involved in a stand-off with the Chinese for two weeks, and after a meeting between senior officials of the two sides, the Chinese “mostly withdrew”, an unidentified Defence Ministry official told The Print. China’s Peoples Liberation Army removed three of its tents but two tents with “some Chinese troops in civvies” still remain.
“The PLA removed three of the tents only after India pushed for talks between the rival Brigade commanders,” an official told The Times of India. At present, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Army patrol the area.
The Indian and Chinese troops had last faced-off in Demchok when Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi met in 2014. This time, the incursion was reported after Beijing announced that its Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe would visit India soon. Demchok is one of the 23 “disputed and sensitive areas” identified on the Line of Actual Control.
This development comes about a year after Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 74-day-long standoff in the Doklam plateau near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction. Since the standoff ended, both countries have maintained that talks are on to improve ties. In January, India dismissed news reports claiming that Chinese forces were still present in the region and were building a military complex there.