NEW DELHI: India’s army chief has said China is sending troops to their disputed border in “considerable numbers”, prompting a matching deployment by New Delhi in a development he called a “concern”.

Tensions have been high between the nuclear-armed neighbours following a deadly border battle in June last year in the strategically important Galwan river valley in Ladakh region.

The world’s two most populous nations poured tens of thousands of extra troops into the high-altitude region in the Himalayas after the clash.

General Manoj Mukund Naravane told reporters in Ladakh on Saturday that the Chinese troop presence along the 3,500-kilometre (2,200-mile) border had increased in “considerable numbers” and it was a “matter of concern”.

Naravane said the Indian military was building up its forces along the border in response.

“We have also inducted advanced weaponry. We are strong, quite well-poised to meet any eventuality,” the Times of India newspaper quoted him as saying.

India and China have been holding high-level military talks since the June clash and Naravane said another meeting was expected next week.

His comments came days after Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying accused Indian soldiers of illegally crossing the border into Chinese territory, a charge that New Delhi said had “no basis in facts”.

Local media reported last week, citing unnamed sources, that nearly 100 Chinese troops had crossed the border into Uttarakhand state for several hours in late August.

India and China, which fought a full-scale border war in 1962, have long accused each other of trying to take territory along their unofficial border, known as the Line of Actual Control.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2021

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