China and India verged on all-out war after tense and bloody border standoffs

Indian Army troops appear to clash with Chinese PLA soldiers

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Lt General Y.K Joshi said India’s move to occupy the area was a turning point in the disengagement talks with China. The Indian Army’s top commander explained how the Chinese People’s Liberation Army also moved tanks up the heights as well as Indian soldiers who brought rocket launchers.

According to the Eurasian Times, Lt General Joshi said: “The easiest thing would have been to pull the trigger after seeing them in the cross-hairs of the telescopic sights.”

In August 2020, the Indian Army occupied the strategically important Rechin La, which is a mountain border pass which lies on the Line of Actual Control.

The Indian troops were stationed on top of the ridgeline that extends from south of Pangong Tso to Spanggur Tso.

Analysts highlighted how India’s move to occupy the high ground meant they had tactically advantageous positions in the Chushul Valley which gave them greater leverage.

Lt General Joshi told CNN-News18’s Defence Editor Shreya Dhoundial about why the Indian Army chose to dominate the Rechin La.

He said: “The Kailash Range was occupied with a purpose.

“The Chinese surprised us initially by occupying parts of our areas — till Finger 4 of the north bank — and the negotiations were going nowhere.

“We had five flag meetings at the Corps Commander level and we were not succeeding in any manner.

“Then, I got instructions from my chief that we need to gain some leverage.”

Lt General Joshi explained that the occupation of the area “was done to gain some success on the negotiating table”.

He added: “It was the biggest turning point in this entire situation that was prevailing in the east of Ladakh post-May 5.”

Lt General Joshi admitted there “were situations where it could have blown up into an armed conflict”.

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His comments come as India and China completed the pull-back of troops from the Pangong Tso Lake area on Saturday.

Both sides have said they will work to decrease tensions on other parts of the disputed Line of Actual Control.

China and India announced their intentions to withdraw troops from the area earlier this month.

A joint statement on Sunday said: “The two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area noting that it was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in Western Sector.”

In June, tensions between the two neighbours erupted after the Galwan Valley attack.

The collision saw 20 Indian soldiers die following a clash with Chinese troops in the area.

The hand-to-hand battle was the most serious military confrontation between the two neighbours in more than half a century.

Lt General Joshi said: “The last nine months have been very, very challenging.

“There have been very tense moments.”

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