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Leh safest route on Kaliash Manasarovar yatra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Focus has shifted to the Centre after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti favoured starting the Kaliash Manasarovar yatra from Leh.“I am in favour of opening of more routes. I strongly favour starting of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra through Leh so that the area gets a tourist and economic boost,” said Mufti.Situated at the altitude of 22,028 feet, Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva in Tibet. Pilgrims perform parikrama at Mount Kailash after the arduous trek. En route is the Manasarovar lake in which a dip is considered holy.So far, yatris took two routes—Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand and Nathu La in Sikkim. This involves trekking at altitudes of up to 19,500 feet in inhospitable conditions. An easier route is via Damchok, in the Leh district. However, the Chinese government is reluctant to open this as it falls on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).Leh-Damchok-Mansorvar is the shortest and safest route. In fact, the Ladakhi people have been demanding the opening of this route for economic prosperity as well. A memorandum presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 by former Chief Executive Councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, said, “From here, pilgrims can make the trek in two days. This would also give a much-needed fillip to the local economy.”Nawang Rigzin Jora, who represents Leh constituency in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, said India has taken up the matter with China from time to time, but they are reluctant.“They may have their own reasons. There have been incursions off and on (from China) on the Indo China border. Another reason could be Ladakhis are big followers of the Dalai Lama,” Jora said.Jora said there is a road up to the Kailash Mansrovar right from Leh. “Safest route is through Leh. You can fly to Leh, take one or two days to acclimatize and then drive up to Kailash Mansarovar.”

Indian Army plays down face off with Chinese troops on LAC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A tense face-off is on between Indian and Chinese troops since Wednesday in Demchok area on the Line of Actual Control after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) objected to civilian work being undertaken by the Indian army engineers under MNREGA scheme.The Chinese troops raised objections on Wednesday when Indian army engineers were constructing an irrigation canal linking ‘Hot Spring’ waters for the villagers in Demchok, located 250 km east of Leh, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). According to official sources, at around 1055 hours yesterday, there was a face-off between Indian army and PLA at ‘Hot Spring’ place, located in general area of Demchok which continued till night.In the morning, the Chinese troops again came to the LAC as soon as the Indian engineers started laying the water pipes and the face-off was continuing, the sources said. Around 55 PLA soldiers arrived on the scene and halted the work in an “aggressive manner”, prompting the army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) personnel to rush to the spot and stop the “high-handedness” of Chinese troops, they said.The Chinese troops took positions on the perceived Line of Actual Control (LAC) and demanded that work be stopped as either side needs to take permission from each other before undertaking any construction work, a claim disputed by the India which says that as per the agreement between the two countries, information about construction needed to be shared only if it was meant for defence purposes. Both sides pulled out banners and have been stationed on the ground, the sources said, adding the Army and ITBP troopers were not allowing the Chinese “to move an inch” ahead despite the PLA claiming that the area belonged to China.The area had witnessed a similar incident in 2014 after it was decided to construct a small irrigation canal at Nilung Nalla under the MNREGA scheme which had been a sore point with the Chinese. The PLA had mobilised villagers from Tashigong to pitch Rebos (tents) at Charding-Ninglung Nallah (CNN) Track Junction to protest Indian action.The ‘Hot Spring’ is different from the one in Chashool where Police Day is observed in the memory of 10 CRPF men killed in 1959 by Chinese troops. Meanwhile, in Delhi, senior Army officers insisted that there was no face-off and the issue is being resolved through established procedures.They added that such objections by either side are not uncommon and situations like these are resolved amicably.

China opposes US Ambassador Richard Verma’s visit to ‘disputed region’ Arunachal Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Taking exception to the visit by US envoy in India to Arunachal Pradesh which it claims as southern Tibet, China on Monday said any interference by Washington in the Sino-India boundary dispute will make it “more complicated” and “disturb” hard-won peace at the border.Asking the US to desist from interfering in the India-China border dispute, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing here that China is firmly opposed to the visit. Referring to US envoy Richard Verma’s October 22 tour to Tawang at the invitation of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Lu said while replying to a question that the US envoy visited a “disputed region”. “We have also noted that the place visited by senior US diplomatic official is a disputed region between China and India. We are firmly opposed to his visit,” he said.China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet and routinely protests visits by Indian leaders, foreign officials as well as the Dalai Lama to the area. “China’s position on eastern section of the China-India boundary is very clear and consistent. The two countries are now trying to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations and consultations,” he said referring to the Special Representatives mechanism headed by National Security Advisors of both countries to find a solution.Both sides held 19th round of Special Representatives’ talks to resolve the disputes over the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet and India asserts that the dispute covers Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war. Lu said “any third party with a sense of responsibility should respect efforts made by China and India for peace reconciliation and tranquility rather than the opposite,” he said.The behaviour by the US contrasts the efforts made by China and India, he said. “It will only make the dispute more complicated, disturb the hard-won peace and tranquility of border areas and sabotage peaceful development of the region,” Lu said. “We urge the US to stop its interference in the boundary issue between China and India and make more contribution to regional peace and stability,” he said.The boundary question between China and India is very complex and sensitive, he said adding that “the interference by a third party will only stir up or heighten tensions”. “At the end of the day only the peoples of the two countries will fall victims,” he said. “We believe India and China as two major countries have enough wisdom to properly to deal with this issue and safeguard the fundamental interest of the two peoples,” Lu said.

India, China hold joint army exercise in Ladakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a first, India and China on Wednesday carried out a joint army exercise in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, a move that comes amid hectic diplomatic manoeuvring between the two countries over a host of issues like Nuclear Suppliers Group and designation of Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN.During the day long exercise on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian Border village was painted. Thereafter joint teams carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance. This was done as a sequel to the first Joint Exercise held on February 6 in the area of Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh, along with Chinese troops of Moldo Garrison.Sources said that in February, the exercise was held in the Chinese side and this time in the Indian side along the line of Actual Control. The Indian team for the exercise was led by Brigadier R S Raman and that of the Chinese was led by Sr Col Fan Jun. The exercise was a great success and has not only refined the drills to provide succour to the border population in case of natural calamity but has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, the Army said in a statement here.The joint exercise, compliments the Hand in Hand series of the India-China joint exercises and the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas of India and China, it said. This year’s edition of ‘Hand in Hand’ will be held at Aundh, near Pune in Maharashtra, from November 15 to 27.

Border dispute, ’emerging new issues’ major challenge for ties with India: China

China has said the vexed border dispute with India and some ’emerging new issues’ pose a ‘major challenge’ to the development of bilateral ties.”As the two neighbouring countries, China and India have historical issues such as the border dispute and also some emerging new issues with the development of the relations between the two countries. How to deal with these issues is a major challenge for the relationship between the two countries,” Chinese Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Li Huilai said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The two sides have agreed to strengthen communication and dialogue, and to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through friendly consultations, and to manage and control these issues so that the overall development of the relationship between the two countries is not affected,” he told PTI.The Minister, however, did not specify what are the “emerging new issues” faced by the two countries.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was on a five-day visit to China last week, had said on Friday that the differences between India and China on the boundary issue and other matters may have “some marginal effect” on bilateral trade but businesses between the two sides have been expanding.The two countries held talks in April this year to resolve the vexed border dispute. While China claims the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kilometres, mainly Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts the dispute covered the whole of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.The Chinese Assistant Minister also said that the main task that lies ahead for both China and India is to implement the consensus between leaders of both countries and strengthen the good momentum of the development in their ties.”Over the past years, China and India have kept their relationship developing in a sound and steady manner. The leaders of the two countries have successfully exchanged visits and met repeatedly, reaching an important consensus on deepening the strategic partnership between China and India and building a closer partnership for development,” said Li.Asked why Beijing blocked India’s bid to get Jaish-e- Mohammed chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, he said, “China supports the fight against terrorism in all forms and advocates strengthening international counter-terrorism cooperation. We support the UN in playing a central coordinating role in the international counter-terrorism campaign.””The Chinese side always follows facts and fairly handles the listing matter of the 1267 Committee in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure. China is in sound communication with all parties including India on this matter. We also encourage direct communication of the parties concerned and enhancing mutual understanding, and work to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation,” Li said.Replying to a question on China’s opposition to India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), when most of its members, including the US, are in its favour, he said, “NSG members remain divided on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries. Therefore, we call for further and thorough discussions within the group in order to make decisions based on consultation.””China’s position applies to all non-NPT countries and targets no one in particular. The fact is that many countries within the group also share China’s stance,” he said.

Indian Army celebrates International Yoga Day at Siachen Glacier

Amid sub-zero temperature, the Army on Tuesday celebrated International Yoga Day at the Siachen Glacier, situated at the height of over 20,000 feet.”The soldiers and the officers posted at Siachen, commonly known as the highest battlefield in the world, today celebrated International Yoga Day”, a defence spokesman said.He said apart from Siachen, the Army’s Fire and Fury Corps also celebrated the day at Leh, Kargil and other forward locations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PTIThe event at Leh was attended by over 900 personnel which included officers, junior commissioned officers and jawans of the Leh Garrisson, the spokesman said.”Large attendances were also organised at Siachen, Kargil and other forward locations along the borders,” he said.PTIApart from giving an impetus to physical fitness, the events were aimed to popularise yoga and also to spread awareness on benefits of yoga among the soldiers, he said, adding large number of soldiers showed interest in learning yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation.The Indian Army has incorporated yoga asanas into the daily routine of the soldiers in high altitude areas with harsh climatic conditions, he said.

Indian Army celebrates International yoga day at Siachen

Srinagar: Amid sub-zero temperature, the Army on Tuesday celebrated International Yoga Day at the Siachen Glacier, situated at the height of over 20,000 feet.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

“The soldiers and the officers posted at Siachen, commonly known as the highest battlefield in the world, today celebrated International Yoga Day”, a defence spokesman said.

He said apart from Siachen, the Army’s Fire and Fury Corps also celebrated the day at Leh, Kargil and other forward locations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The event at Leh was attended by over 900 personnel which included officers, junior commissioned officers and jawans of the Leh Garrisson, the spokesman said.

“Large attendances were also organised at Siachen, Kargil and other forward locations along the borders,” he said.

Apart from giving an impetus to physical fitness, the events were aimed to popularise yoga and also to spread awareness on benefits of yoga among the soldiers, he said, adding large number of soldiers showed interest in learning yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation.

The Indian Army has incorporated yoga asanas into the daily routine of the soldiers in high altitude areas with harsh climatic conditions, he said.

Shut shop in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, India tells China

India has formally asked China to stop the construction activities on the other side of Line of Control (LoC) in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).This follows reports of China being involved in construction and upgradation of numerous roads, bridges and hydro power projects in PoK. The Chinese links with Pakistan through PoK have lent credence to the Sino-Islamabad nexus, sparking security concerns for India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government has conveyed its concerns to China…and asked them to cease such activities,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command.China’s Gezhouba Group Company Ltd has been building a Jhelum-Neelum 970MW hydel power project in PoK since 2007. The project is likely to be complete this year.China is also constructing an all-weather road, connecting Karakoram Highway with Gilgit-Baltistan, and is also involved in a 46-billion dollar China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), that will also pass through Karakoram Highway.In 2012, Indian Army spotted Chinese engineers, technical staff and other people in civvies on the other side of LoC in PoK amid reports that Pakistan was allowing China to use some of its occupied areas for military purposes.The issue had then rocked the Parliament after reports suggested that Pakistan had “leased out” the land to China for military purposes, besides allowing them to keep a watch on India.Early this year, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops were spotted at the forward posts on the other side of the LoC in PoK. Indian army spokesman, however, was quick to deny such reports then.This was not the first time that Chinese troops or engineers have been spotted in PoK. In 2011, Pakistan stationed Chinese troops on the LoC in PoK, sending alarm bells ringing among the Indian army, guarding the porous border line, which is often used by Pakistani army to send in militants into Kashmir. The PLA troops were also spotted in 2015, opposite Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district.Colonel Goswami also denied any incursions by the Chinese troops into Indian territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the cold desert of Ladakh.”There is no commonly delineated LAC between India and China. There are areas along the border including areas in Ladakh where India and China have differing perception of LAC. Due to both sides undertaking patrolling upto their perception of the LAC, transgressions do occur,” he said.The defence spokesman noted that the government regularly takes up any transgression along LAC with the Chinese side through established mechanisms including flag meetings, border personnel meetings, bilateral working mechanism for consultation and coordination on the India-China border affairs and diplomatic channels.In September 2015, the two armies were engaged in a bitter standoff after Indian troops dismantled a watch tower constructed by the PLA at Burste in Depsang Plains on the LAC.In April, 2013, Indian Army and PLA were again engaged in a major face-off after the Chinese troops crossed 19 kilometres deep into Indian territory at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector on LAC and set up posts. The standoff lasted for 20 days, and ended on May 5, 2013, when troops from both sides withdrew to the pre-incursion positions.India shares a 3,488-km border with China while J&K shares 646 km of LAC with China. J&K is the only state in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China.

Bitter-sweet welcome for Manohar Parrikar in China

The Chinese media plays by its government’s rules. While the Chinese government rolled out the red carpet for India’s defence minister Manohar Parrikar, a state-run newspaper sought to make things a little nasty by comparing India with a woman being courted by many suitors, particularly the US and Russia.The distasteful story in Global Times titled Indo-US strategic distrust stalls LSA signing, in effect, expressed China’s irritation and fear over India-US bonhomie. “The basic idea is that India would like to continue to be the most beautiful woman wooed by all men, notably the two strongest in the house, US and China,” says the piece. This sexist bilge betrays a superior military power’s nagging fear: What if it loses India to the US? Strongman Beijing, after all, is insecure. It’s trying desperately to keep India on his side, taking recourse to every possible tactic — welcoming at times, sarcastic on other occasions.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to maintain its stranglehold in South Asian matters, Beijing, in search of allies, is aggressively courting all countries in the region.Parrikar was given a ceremonial welcome before his ?meeting with his Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) headquarters in Beijing on Monday. Apparently, Global Times’ view is in contrast with the Chinese foreign office’s reaction to the announcement of in-principle agreement on military logistic support between India and the US last week. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang then told reporters in Beijing. “We have noted relevant reports on US Defence Secretary Ash Carter’s visit to India”. Lu further said that “India is also an influential country in the world, and India has been upholding an independent diplomatic policy. India will make up its diplomatic policies based on its own interests.”But, this could be just another round of China blowing hot and cold with India.Reacting to the above report, a senior functionary in India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) pointed out that what appeared in the press is not the official position of the Chinese government. Parrikar is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising the defence secretary, director general of military operations, western Naval commander, and air force vice chief.During his talks with the Chinese officials, Parrikar raised the issue of China blocking India’s bid in the United Nations to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar declared as terrorist following the organisation’s role in the January attack on the Pathankot air base. India also sought Chinese help to unravel the conspiracy of ISIS which wants to spread its tentacles in the sub-continent and asked for details of the ‘chat conversation’ that an alleged Islamic State recruit from Maharashtra had with his handlers in Syria and Iraq.The NIA has sent Letters Rogatory to China requesting for the chat details of Areeb Majeed, arrested by the anti-terror agency in December 2014, with his handlers, official sources said today.Majeed allegedly used ‘WeChat’ messaging service to interact with his handlers and the server was located in China.Indian and Chinese officials, meanwhile, also discussed the border management dispute and the possibility of a new border personnel meeting point along the Line of Actual Control in order to ensure stability along a vast area of undemarcated border between the two countries.—(with inputs from PTI)

India attaches highest priority to ties with China: Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that India attaches highest priority to its ties with China, allaying Beijing’s concerns over New Delhi’s any tilt towards the US in view of its decision to sign an agreement with Washington to share military bases.In a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan, Parrikar said that “India attaches highest priority to relations with China and was committed to further developing friendly and cooperative relations with China”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Allaying China’s concerns over India’s decision to sign Logistics Support Agreement with the US, Parrikar told the Chinese leader that India pursued autonomous policy to further its national interests and there is no change in it. “India is committed to further developing friendly and corporative relations with China,” he told Chang. Parrikar later met China’s highest military official Gen Fan Changlong, the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which is the overall commanding body of the 2.3 million strong military. It is headed by President Xi Jinping. The defence minister would meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang tomorrow and later visit Chengdu, the headquarters of recently integrated western command military which has jurisdiction over entire borders with India.While the two countries discussed expediting efforts to establish hotline between the two military headquarters and more confidence building measures like opening of more border points for interactions with troops on the grounds, Parrikar reiterated India’s stand for demarcation of the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) which was proposed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China last year. China, however, expressed reservations over such a move. Terming the recurring incidents of Chinese troops entering what India claims as its territory as “transgressions not incursions”, Parrikar said clarity over LAC will bring down tensions between the troops on both sides which aggressively patrol the areas to assert their control. “We are insisting it should be done in order to really ensure a very stable border…because all the issues take place because of perception,” he said. Marking the LAC is “one of the preconditions of smooth border operations. Without that everything goes by perceptions…which has caused problems sometimes”, he said.The issue was expected to be further discussed during 19th round of boundary talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi here this week. The two officials were designated Special Representatives to address the boundary dispute.On establishing hotline, Parrikar said that China has responded to India’s memorandum on the technicalities and progress was expected to be made in this regard in the next few months. It was agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit. “A lot of issues were discussed. We have generally agreed to enhance the bilateral exchanges at military level and at ministry level,” he said.Border management was one of the issues discussed and discussions focused on steps to improve the conditions on the ground, the minister said.Currently, both sides opened five border points for interactions with the troops and talks are on to open more such points, he said. Asked about China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative specially in the Indian Ocean over which India has reservations, Parrikar said the issue of peace and stability of the Indian Ocean was raised.He said the Chinese officials also raised the issue of South China Sea where China is in maritime dispute with a number of south east Asian countries. He reiterated India’s policy that restraint should be exercised in dealing with it.Commenting on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow today and the forthcoming visit of Doval, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the meetings show that mutual political trust between China and India have increased, and bilateral exchanges and cooperation are advancing. Although China and India have some differences, both sides are willing to effectively control and solve the issues through friendly negotiations and consultations, Lu said.In fact, China and India have always maintained close high-level contacts, he told the media here. The development of China-India relations is not only in line with their interests but also conducive to regional and global peace and stability, Lu stressed, noting China and India are the two biggest developing countries, important emerging economies and major powers in a multi-polar world. “We are ready to work with India to constantly make new progress on building the China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity,” he said.

Reports about presence of PLA troops in PoK groundless: China

China’s military on Thursday dismissed as “groundless” the reports of presence of its troops at a forward post in PoK as India and China prepared for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s first visit to Beijing to enhance defence ties.LIVE INDIA vs WEST INDIES 2nd semi final T20, ICC World T20″Chinese position on Kashmir is consistent and (the) reports you mentioned are groundless,” Chinese Defence spokesman Col. Yang Yujun told a media briefing here in a brief reply to a question on reports of presence of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops at a forward post opposite Nowgam sector in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He did not react to a question whether any of its personnel were present in connection with the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port which is being laid through the PoK. This is the first time China’s military reacted to the reports of presence of its troops in PoK.Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry parried questions on the reports, saying that Kashmir is an issue between India and Pakistan left over from history and should be properly handled by the two sides through dialogue and consultation.India had earlier protested to China over the CPEC. About reports of Parrikar’s visit, Yang said the two countries are coordinating but declined to give the dates. Officials on both sides were tight-lipped about the visit which was expected to take place in the third week of April.During the visit, both sides will exchange ideas including bilateral military cooperation, Yang said. Parrikar’s visit will be the first after his predecessor A K Antony travelled here in 2013 which led to improvement of relations between the two militaries. The exchanges, which were earlier confined to the two armies, were extended to navy and airforces.After that, several high-level military officials have exchanged visits in a calibrated move to improve relations between the two major militaries. Both the sides have established Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to discuss the issue of incursions and aggressive border patrols by PLA troops along the 3,488-km long disputed border.

Fresh transgression by Chinese troops in Ladakh

In a fresh transgression in Ladakh sector, Chinese PLA troops entered almost 6 km deep inside Indian territory near the scenic Pangong lake area this week leading to a stand-off between security personnel of the two sides, according to security sources. The incident occurred on March 8 when a platoon of at least 11 PLA men led by a Colonel-rank officer crossed over the imaginary Line of Actual Control (LAC) at ‘Finger VIII’ Sirjap-I area close to the Pangong lake, sources in the security establishment said today. The Chinese soldiers entered in four vehicles–two light one medium and one heavy–from across the Thakung border post of India and reached 5.5 km deep inside Indian territory, the sources said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources said the soldiers were soon “countered and engaged” by a patrol of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) and they were locked in “eye-to-eye ball” confrontation for a few hours after which the situation got defused and the other side retreated. The Army, which maintains that transgressions take place along the LAC due to different perception of the border, was not immediately available for comment. Sources, however, said that the Chinese platoon was led by a Colonel-rank officer and it included two Majors. According to reports, the Chinese side was well equipped while the ITBP men were also carrying weapons and equipment for a long range patrol of the area. The situation along the banks of the 90 sq km Pangong lake, two-third of which is in China, has always remained volatile with Chinese troops being intercepted by Indian Army patrol several times after the three-week long stand-off in the Depsang plains of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in May, 2013.China has also managed to construct a road up to Finger-IV area which also falls under Sirijap area and is five-km deep into the LAC.

In a first, Indian and Chinese armies conduct a Joint Tactical Exercise

Forget incursions, Indian and Chinese armies are breaking new grounds of friendship on the sensitive Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the cold desert of Ladakh.For the first time Indian and Chinese armies held a Joint Tactical exercise (JET) on the sensitive LAC in Eastern Ladakh on Febuary 6. The exercise is a part of ongoing initiatives being taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the LAC in a bid ensure peace and tranquillity on the border.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Codenamed Sino-India Cooperation 2016, the JET is part of Hand-in-Hand series of India-China Joint Exercises which complements the recently conducted border troops Joint Exercise in Sikkim. “The exercise focused on actions to be coordinated to jointly tackle aspects of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command Headquarters.The Indian Army team of 30 personnel was led by Colonel Ritesh Chandra Singh while the Chinese delegation was led by Colonel Qu Yi. “The day-long joint exercise was based on a situation of a national disaster occurring on the border and the subsequent coordination of rescue mission by joint teams of both countries,” said Colonel Goswami.The joint exercise comes two months after Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda visited China on their invitation for discussions on the border management and boundary issues.The JET is seen as major confidence-building measures between the two armies in a bid to improve border management and boost the Sino-India relations. “The increased interaction amongst Indian and Chinese border troops is a very positive step in enhancing confidence and building relations between the two armies,” Col Goswami said.India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Jammu and Kashmir shares 646 Km of Line of actual control (LAC) with China. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China.However the incursions and transgressions by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a cause of worry for the people in Ladakh division, though the number has decreased for the last two years. In September 2015, two armies were engaged in a bitter standoff after Indian troops dismantled the watch tower constructed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Burste in Depsang Plains on the LAC.In April 2013 Indian and PLA were engaged in a major face off when the Chinese troops had crossed 19 kilometre deep inside the Indian Territory at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector on LAC and set up the tented posts. The 20 day standoff ended on May 5 2013 when troops from both sides withdraw to the pre-incursion positions on the LAC.

Massive rescue ops on to save 10 Indian soldiers buried in Siachen avalanche

Ten soldiers, including an officer, went missing on Wednesday after an avalanche hit them in Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region.

“Ten soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), are missing after an avalanche hit their patrol at 19,000 feet above the sea level in southern side of the Siachen Glacier early Wednesday,” Colonel S.D. Goswami, spokesman of army’s Udhampur headquartered northern command, told IANS here.

Army spokesperson NN Joshi said several personnel from the Madras Regiment were buried on the northern side of the glacier, reports The Hindustan Times.

“A massive rescue operation has been started by the army and the Air Force to trace the missing personnel who are feared buried under the avalanche,” Goswami said.

Siachin Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield which the brave hearts of the Indian Army guard despite extremely hostile climate.

The winter temperatures often drops to minus 50 degrees Celsius in the region.

The Indian Express reports that one junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine jawans of the Army’s 19 Madras battalion have been trapped since early Wednesday morning. The post is at 19,600 feet on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) — the border with Pakistan at Siachen glacier — in the vicinity of Bana post.

With IANS inputs

Chumar stand-off: Two ITBP men awarded gallantry medals

In a first, two troops of border guarding force ITBP have been decorated with gallantry medals this Republic Day for exhibiting a steely resolve in the icy Himalayan heights while diffusing the month-long face-off with the Chinese PLA army in Ladakh’s Chumar division in 2014.The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has always got bravery awards, including military medals, for their brave exploits during their duties in guarding Indian interests in Afghanistan or while working in other internal security theatres of the country like combating Left Wing Extremism.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is the first time for the force to get bravery medals for duties along the border it guards. The force is rendering some of the toughest duties along the Sino-Indian frontier which has been a witness to some serious confrontations between the security personnel on the two sides, albeit, without even a single bullet being fired ever,” a senior official said.The Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) has been awarded to Assistant Commandant Deepak Singh and Head Constable Kanwar Singh who “without caring for relief and respite in extreme cold climate at icy heights gave gallant account of themselves to contain and defuse the situation which ultimately resulted in de-escalation of the situation peacefully and in safeguarding the security and interest of the nation.”The Chumar standoff was one of the longest between the two sides on this mountainous border which has witnessed a number of incidents between ITBP/Army and PLA owing to the respective sides’ perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).In a candid account of his memoirs about the incident, former ITBP Director General Subhas Goswami had termed as “evil design” of Chinese Army this face-off which, he said, saw both sides entering into “serious” altercations.Terming the reasons for the standoff as part of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) machinations, Goswami, who was heading the force at that time, wrote about an eye-ball-to-eye-ball situation with the PLA in Chumar, located 210 kms northeast of Leh town of Jammu and Kashmir.”It was about the eye-ball-to-eye-ball standoff with the Chinese Army at Chumar in Ladakh. On receiving information that the PLA was preparing to build a road in our territory, ITBP along with the Indian Army rushed to the spot and physically prevented the Chinese Army from carrying out their evil design. This stout defence led to serious altercations and jostling between the opposing troops,” Goswami had recently written in his memoirs he penned for the 54th anniversary of the force which was celebrated last year in October.He had said the PLA expanded the area of conflict to near by locations by “heli-lifting” its forces from the rear but finally had to “go back to their barracks.” The ITBP is tasked to guard the 3,488km long Sino-Indian frontier.

Pakistan Army has derailed peace process several times: Army Chief General Suhag

Amid uncertainty over the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks, Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on Wednesday squarely blamed the Pakistani Army for having derailed the peace process a “number of times” in the past. His remarks came in the backdrop of reports that Pakistani establishment was not on board with their Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when it came to talks with India.”It has done it number of times. I am not saying in this (Pathankot) connection…” he said when asked whether he feels that the Pathankot attack was an attempt by the Pakistani Army and the ISI to disrupt the peace process.There is speculation that the FS-level talks may be deferred with India wanting “prompt and decisive” action against the masterminds of the Pathankot terror attack that left seven soldiers killed and six terrorists gunned down.Two days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stressed on the need to give back pain inflicted on India by organisations and individuals in the same coin, Suhag asserted that the Indian Army is ready and competent to carry out any task it is entrusted with and “fully prepared” to meet any threat to the country’s security.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army chief, who was addressing his annual press conference ahead of the Army Day here, also expressed his “concern” at the infiltration along the borders with Pakistan in Punjab but made it clear that the responsibility lies with the BSF which is manning the area. Suhag also indicated that the six Pakistani terrorists could well have been hiding inside the Pathankot air base base as he asserted that no one came in once the Army cordon was placed along the 24 km-long permitere wall.He said it is a matter of “treason” if the terrorists had used the drug route to get in with local help. The Chief also rejected allegations about lack of coordination in response to the attack saying there was “complete synergy”.Refusing to comment on whether the FS-level talks should be held this week, the Army chief said it is a diplomatic and political decision. On Pakistan’s role in the attack, Suhag asserted that markings on medicines carried by them along with some of the equipment showed that they were from Pakistan.He said the evidence has been shared with the Pakistani authorities but details will come out only after the investigation by the NIA. The General added that the motive of the Pathankot attack was to inflict maximum damage and generate a media hype. The Army chief said that the security environment facing the nation is becoming more “complex and dynamic” and said that at least 17 terror training camps continue to be active in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir compared to 42 earlier.He said some of the camps were shut down few years ago due to international pressure. On the Pathankot terror attack, Suhag said there were “no lack of coordination” and local commanders had complete liberty in planning and execution, of the counter-offensive operation which was carried out under Western Army Commander Lt Gen K J Singh.His comments came amid questions raised by experts as to why there was multiple change of command and why the NSG, a paramilitary force under the Home Ministry, led the operation. “As far as the Army is concerned, it was not under anybody’s command. It was under the Western Army Commander who was monitoring and controlling the operations on my behalf,” Suhag said.He added that one of the important task at hand was to ensure safety of the assets, the over 10,000 people living at the base and the foreign trainees at the base. He asserted that contrary to reports, 8 columns of the Army, with about 70 men each, were deployed besides the special forces.Asked whether the decision to call in the NSG to handle the Pathankot operation was correct or not, he said, “NSG is the best force to deal with hostage situation and it was a good decision.” Assuring the country, he said the Army is highly motivated and ready to respond to any threats to our national security.”It was a good operation. To ensure less casualties we had to take time to complete operation,” he said. Suhag said he was personally monitoring the operation and was in regular touch with Lt Gen Singh. The Army Chief said his direction on Pathankot operation was to secure all facilities and personnel, ensure no one escaped and to avoid casualties.He said that the crisis management committee met before Pathankot attack and he had alerted commanders in Northern and Western sector. Gen Singh also identified cyber security as the major non traditional challenge for the Army.About infiltration, Suhag said that the reason why terrorists were using the Punjab border to enter the country was because anti-infiltration grid along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has been strengthened and is difficult to breach. On relations with China, he said that face offs on the Line of Actual Control have come down this year from the previous year and that a hotline between the two troops would be set up in few months.

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