In a concerning development, India has lost 26 of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh as a result of the country’s ongoing standoff with China along the 3,500-kilometer disputed border.
The revelation was made in a new report by a senior police officer at last week’s annual conference of the country’s top police officers in Delhi, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were all present at. According to the report, “currently there are 65 PPs (Patrolling Points) starting from Karakoram pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs” (Indian Security Forces). Our presence is missing in 26 of the 65 PPs (i.e. PPs 5-17, 24-32, and 37, due to restrictive legislation).
The report comes just a little more than a month after India accused China of attempting to “unilaterally change the status quo” on their de-facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control.
It goes on to say that while these points lag behind ISF surveillance, China has forced India to accept that these areas now have a Chinese presence. “This causes a shift in the border under ISF control towards the Indian side, and a “buffer zone” is created in all such pockets, resulting in India losing control over these areas. This PLA (People’s Liberation Army) tactic of grabbing land inch by inch is known as ‘Salami slicing.’ “According to the NDTV report.
Furthermore, the officers claim that China has taken advantage of the de-escalation talks and has placed surveillance equipment at the highest points of the buffer zones, where it is currently monitoring the movement of the Indian armed forces. They also pushed the Indian side back and demanded the establishment of more buffer zones.
In a response to the report, a senior defence official told The Hindu that “there is no loss of territory due to disengagement in friction areas”.