There was a minor face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the no-patrolling zone at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh in the first week of May, a senior government official told The Hindu. However, no clash occurred and the two sides disengaged quickly.
A no-patrolling zone extending to around 3 kilometre, around 1.5 km each, on either side of the clash site near the Y-junction of the Galwan Valley, was created after the June 15, 2020 incident when 20 Indian army personnel were killed in violent clashes with the Chinese. A 30-day moratorium was also applied on foot-patrolling then. It was not known if it has been extended.
The Army, however, said no such “minor face-off” took place. “The article seems to be inspired by sources who may be trying to derail the ongoing process for early resolution of issues in eastern Ladakh,” it said in a statement.
“After the no-patrolling zones were created last year, the two sides occasionally conduct reconnaissance to see if the other side has crossed the line. The patrols are sent at different times. On the particular day, the Indian and Chinese patrols reached the area at the same time, a minor face-off happened but they returned quickly,” said the official.
The official added that China still has camps beyond the no-patrolling zone and there has not been any reduction in troop deployment since last year. The official explained that both sides send periodical patrols “out of suspicion.”
It may be recalled, that prior to April-May 2020, when China amassed troops at the particular location in Galwan, claiming it to be Chinese territory, Indian troops regularly patrolled the area that is said to be within India’s perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Earlier, the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) used to patrol and leave, but since April-May 2020 it made a permanent presence within 600-800 metres of India’s perception of the LAC.