The border security situation in Chumar sector of the eastern Ladakh turned worse when Chinese PLA soldiers crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and took away 150 metres of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) linked to a surveillance camera and 300 metres of army’s telephone cable last Sunday.
The incident follows a face-off between the two sides on July 16-17 and an earlier incident on June 17 when the PLA took away a CCTV camera installed in the same area.
The sudden PLA aggression on July 21 in Chumar made Leh-based XIV Corps Commander Lt General Rakesh Sharma and Brigade Commander BM Gupta visit the area on July 23 to review the security situation along the LAC.
While India is committed to peace and tranquility on the LAC, instructions have been given to local commanders not to take matters lying down.
According to government sources, around 20 PLA troopers entered the India territory last Sunday and took away the OFC cable and telephone wire with the intention of not allowing the Indian Army monitor the LAC in the Chumar sector.
The Chumar incident has been taken up at the highest level with defence minister AK Antony being updated by army headquarters from time to time.
Senior officials says that Chumar has been the focus of PLA aggression as Indian Army’s observation post 30R dominates the LAC and gives a vantage view of the Chinese activity deep across the border.
This area figured in defusing the 21-day Depsang Plains standoff as the Chinese PLA went back to their original positions (called JAK I and II) on May 5, 2013, after the Indian Army dismantled a tin shed in the Chumar sector.
However, taking advantage of the CCTV camera, which was lying defunct for two full days, the PLA troops entered the Indian side on June 17 and took away the surveillance device. The faulty camera was returned on July 2 after Indian protests and on the eve of the defence minister visit to China on July 4.
“After the face-to-face like situation on July 16-17, the PLA showed aggression on July 21 by stealing the OFC and telephone cable which are vital to monitor the situation on the LAC.
The whole purpose is to push the Indian Army out of the vantage point near the LAC. While incursions in Arunachal Pradesh and Barahoti could be due to difference in LAC perceptions but the Chumar incident is about securing tactical advantage for the PLA in case of worst case scenario,” said a senior official.