China has not carried out any 'troop mobilisation' towards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the entire stretch from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, nor have the live-fire drills conducted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Tibet raised “any red flags” in the Indian security establishment till now, Times of India quoted official Indian sources as saying in its report.
The claim comes a day after Chinese media claimed that Beijing is quietly moving “tens of thousands of tonnes” of military equipment, including army vehicles and troops, to Tibet while it was conducting live-fire drills in the remote mountainous region.
Chinese media’s reports are being viewed as Beijing’s strategy to put psychological pressure on India to withdraw its troops from the Doklam Plateau, where troops from the two countries have been locked in a face-off for over a month now.
Official India sources said that that the PLA “has not made any disquieting troop movement” south of Tsangpo in Tibet till now.
“It was a routine annual exercise that took place near Lhasa in early-June, around 700-km from the border. All armies conduct exercises at frequent intervals. The PLA has been conducting such exercises in Tibet since 2009,” a source was quoted by Times of India as saying.
According to PLA Daily, the official mouthpiece of Chinese military, the haul was transported to a region south of the Kunlun Mountains in northern Tibet by the Western Theatre Command – the unit which oversees the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and handles border issues with India.
“The vast haul was transported to a region south of the Kunlun mountains in northern Tibet by the western theatre command, which oversees the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and handles border issues with India,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said on Wednesday, quoting the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily.
The PLA Daily’s report also said that it won’t take much time for Chinese troops to move to their side of Nathu La in Sikkim.
According to Ni Lexiong, the transfer of equipment was most likely related to the standoff and could have been designed to bring India to the negotiating table. “Diplomatic talks must be backed by military preparation,” he told the South China Morning Post.
The Communist Party organ, People's Daily, in a commentary said, “Though India has more troops scattered along the disputed area, China's rapid deployment of troops, its powerful weaponry, and its advanced logistics support give China the edge over India.”
It was earlier reported by Times of India that there are just 300-400 troops each from the two sides in the “non-aggressive” confrontation at the exact stand-off site on the Doklam Plateau near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.
However, the Indian Army, as a precaution, has “moved forward” over 3,000 troops from their peace-time deployments in Sikkim, apart from "activating" all its relevant formations in the region like the 17 Mountain Division (headquarters at Gangtok), 27 Mountain Division (Kalimpong) and 20 Mountain Division (Binnaguri).