BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Amid border tension at eastern Ladakh, Chinese construction activities were observed near the border at Uttarakhand. “Hut-like structures on the Chinese side, very close to Tinkar-Lipu pass of Nepal, were observed,” sources said on Wednesday.
“It was also found that China is engaged in construction activities in Chinese side of the General Area of Jojo village, Champa Maidan. The Jojo village is approximately seven to eight kilometres from Tinkar-Lipu pass of Nepal,” said sources.
Indian security agencies are now keeping close watch on movements of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops near Uttarakhand borders touching Nepal.
With escalation in India and China border tension, Indian intelligence had flagged earlier that the Nepal government has directed its forces to “closely monitor” the activities of Indian Army at Lipulekh area.
Lipulekh is a tri-junction between India, Nepal and China situated atop the Kalapani Valley in Uttarakhand.
Nepal government’s Ministry of Home Affairs issued directions to Nepalese Armed Police Force (NAPF) to closely monitor Indian Army activities in the general area of Lipulekh.
Further at Lipulekh, 44 battalion of the NAPF have been deployed.
It was also found that China has increased its troop deployment at Lipulekh.
China has deployed 150 Light Combined Arms Brigade. The brigade was moved in August from towards the Lipulekh tri-junction. They have reinforced troops in Pala, around 10 km from the border.
It was India’s road construction to the Lipulekh area at 17,000 feet that had sparked a diplomatic row between India and Nepal as Kathmandu claimed the area to be its territory.
The road was aimed at shortening the travel time for pilgrims visiting the Kailash Mansarovar.
Following this, Nepal brought out a new political map showing the contested area as its own. Nepal is also constructing more than 200 new border posts at Indo-Nepal border. Currently, Nepal has 130 permanent border posts.
India and China are locked in a more than four-month-long standoff at multiple points, hitherto unprecedented along the border.
China had changed the status quo on the Line of Actual Control at various places, moving inside Indian territories. India has objected to it and is taking up the matter with China at all levels.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at email@example.com)