A view of Pangong lake (TOI photo)
NEW DELHI: After physically occupying an almost 8-km stretch of what India considers its territory on the north bank of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has now created a massive signage in the area to claim it as Chinese land.
Located between Finger-4 and Finger-5, the 80-metre-long signage is in the shape of inscriptions and is designed to be visible from the air and capable of being picked up by satellites. It consists of the Mandarin symbol meaning China with a map of the country. It seeks to deride India’s claim that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) runs north to south at Finger-8.
“It clearly shows the PLA has no intention of leaving the area any time soon. We, too, have counter-mobilised with additional Army and ITBP troops in the area since May for any eventuality. We want restoration of status quo ante, with the PLA pulling back to its original position,” an official said here.
PLA soldiers have built dozens of fortifications, prefabricated huts, bunkers and pill-boxes after occupying the ‘Finger-4 to 8’ (mountainous spurs separated by a distance of 8 km) area on the north bank of Pangong Tso in a massive consolidation since early-May. They have also taken control of the nearby heights and ridgeline to dominate the area, as was earlier reported by TOI.
Indian soldiers, with an ITBP post located between Finger-3 and 4, have for long been patrolling west to east till Finger-8.
The PLA, which has also strengthened its positions on the south bank of the lake, wants Indian soldiers to retreat to the Finger-2 area. Ever since the clash between the rival troops in the area on May 5-6, Chinese soldiers have effectively blocked all Indian patrols from the Finger-4 to 8 area.