Chinese troops violate Indian land, air space


New Delhi: Chinese troops transgressed the border on land and by air in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand earlier this month when its men stationed themselves in a dimilitarised zone and its helicopters flew in the Indian air space for over five minutes.
Official sources said the incident took place on July 19 in Barahoti area prompting the security establishment to review the security along the 350 kilometres border with Tibet in this area, official sources said.
While Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat termed the development as ‘something to worry about’ hoping that Centre will pay heed to his request for increased vigil, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said ITBP had been asked to look into the matter.
According to the sources, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops were seen in the area when state government officials accompanied by ITBP personnel in civil visit Barahoti ground.
The sources said that the civilian team was sent back by Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops, who claimed it to be their land and recognised it as ‘Wu-Je’.
Later, it was found that a Chinese helicopter hovered over the ground for nearly five minutes before returning to its side, the sources said and expressed apprehension that it could have carried out aerial photography of the area during its reconnaissance mission. It was identified as Zhiba series of attack helicopter of the PLA.
Barahoti is one of three border posts in the ‘middle sector’ comprising Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where ITBP jawans are not allowed to take their weapons as      per the unilateral decision of the then government in June, 2000.
In 1958 both countries listed Barahoti, an 80-square KM sloping pasture, as a disputed area where neither side would send their troops.
In 1962 war, Chinese PLA did not enter the 545-KM middle-sector and focused on Western (Ladakh) and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.
However, after 1962 Sino-Indian war, the ITBP jawans used to patrol the area with weapons in non-combative manner under which the barrel of the gun is positioned downward.
During prolonged negotiations on resolving border dispute, the Indian side had unilaterally agreed in June, 2000 that ITBP troops would not be carrying arms to three posts which included Barahoti besides Kauril and Shipki in Himachal Pradesh.
The ITBP men do go patrolling in civil dress and the pasture sees Indian shepherds from the border villages tending their sheep and people from Tibet bringing their yaks for grazing.
The area has been in focus with transgressions taking place in this area from Chinese side. Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, termed these transgression as ‘worry’ for India and said, “After violating Line of Actual Control in Western and Eastern sectors, the Chinese troops now seem to be focusing on middle sector. It is a cause of worry for us.”
However, the Army while admitting that ‘not more than 4-5 Chinese soldiers’ had come in, said ‘transgressions’ continue to happen along the LAC on account of differing perception of the border and there was ‘nothing alarming’.
“In the current Barahoti incident, a small detachment of PLA, not more than 4-5, came across our patrol in the area. The incident was handled as per mutually agreed drills. The incident did not last more than a few minutes. Nothing alarming,” an official said.
Meanwhile, Director General of ITBP Krishna Chaudhary has submitted his report to the Home Ministry about the transgression. (PTI)