China has occupied 23 sq miles of Indian territory: Report

Pangong Tso in Ladakh


Chinese troops have occupied more than 60 sq km (23 sq miles) of Indian territory in eastern Ladakh, Britain’s Telegraph reported Friday in a sensational news break the newspaper attributed to an unnamed senior Indian Army source.

The report that three journalists, one from Islamabad, one from Beijing and one from New Delhi, wrote claimed that “up to 12,000 Chinese troops pushed over the border into India last month amid border clashes as Beijing looks to slap down Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his ever-closer relationship with the United States”.

The claim comes against the backdrop of reports in the Indian media that the country’s army had rushed fighting formations to its northern frontiers after China built up its troop formations all across its 2,520-mile border with India.

The two countries Wednesday held high-level military talks, which were reportedly to be followed by a series of such talks between local-level troop commanders.

At a press conference Wednesday, news agency AFP asked Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying for confirmation of Indian media then reports that Chinese and Indian border troops were disengaging and moving back from three locations in the west section of China-India boundary.

“Through diplomatic and military channels, China and India have recently had effective communication and reached agreement on properly handling the situation in the west section of the China-India boundary. At present, the two sides are taking actions in line with the agreement to ameliorate the border situation,” Hua said.

“It is unclear whether this is rooted in on-the-ground movement, or is simply India trying to save face,” the unnamed senior Indian Army official told Telegraph, adding: “40 sq km [15.4 sq miles] were occupied at Pangong Tso [in indica file photograph above] and 20 sq km [7.7 sq miles] at Galwan River, with smaller incursions at Hot Springs and Demchok.”

The two countries are divided by the Line of Actual Control or LAC in Ladakh, which New Delhi and Beijing have differing views of, a small undisputed portion in the centre, and the MacMahon Line in the east.

The current standoff began in early May this year.

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