Amid Doklam stand-off, Chinese soldiers transgressed into Barahoti 6 days ago

Nathu La

Chinese soldiers guard the Nathu La mountain pass between Tibet and the tiny northeastern Indian state of Sikkim

The incursions were not alarming and have been common for nearly 10 years, ITBP officials said. The ITBP jawans would guard the area with weapons in a non-militant manner, that is, with the barrel of the gun facing down.

The crisis erupted after Indian and Bhutanese troops foiled an attempt by the Chinese Army to encroach on a disputed enclave. Similarly, in 2015, the Chinese troops demolished some temporary huts erected there by the shepherds on the grazing ground.

News agency ANI quotes sources saying that Chinese soldiers transgressed into Uttarakhand's Barahoti on 25 July at about 9 a.m. and ventured between 800m to 1 km into Indian territory. It is also one of three border posts in what is known the "middle sector", comprising Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Talking about the Uttarakhand transgressions, official sources said that incidents of similar nature have happened in the past but are normally sorted out locally and should not be given undue importance. The Chinese troopers had crossed over into Barahoti on July 25 and went back after they were halted by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

In 1958, India and China listed Barahoti as a disputed area and agreed that neither side would send their troops there. In the 1962 war, the PLA did not enter the middle sector and focused on the western (Ladakh) and eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.

Barahoti in the Chamoli district reported such instances of Chinese transgression in the past too. Past year also a similar incident was reported from the region.

Officials say there have been many such transgressions as both sides have different perceptions of the Line of Actual Control. The pact states that the two sides will take all steps to prevent situations like face-offs and local commanders will resolve the issue amicably according to laid down Standard Operating Procedures.

The event came on a day when Home Ministry sources said some 50 Chinese soldiers entered into Uttarakhand's Barahoti last week and spent about two hours before going back.

Apart from India, China has also always been embroiled in a contest with Japan over East China Sea islands, as well as with five other governments over competing claims to territory in the strategically vital South China Sea. China has overwhelming dominance over India because the country's GDP is five times that of India and its military expenditure is triple.

There was hope of a breakthrough in the border row last week ahead of Doval's meeting with Xi on the sidelines of BRICS summit in Beijing.

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