Updated January 31st, 2024 at 07:08 IST
Ladakh Graziers Confront Chinese PLA Soldiers with Armoured Vehicles Near LAC
Despite facing adversity, the local shepherds stood their ground against the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Demchok: In an incident earlier this month, Ladakhi shepherds showed extraordinary resilience in fending off Chinese soldiers attempting an illegal incursion into Indian territory in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The trespassing Chinese troops, accompanied by military vehicles, including a Dongfeng Mengshi light-armoured vehicle equipped with a remote-controlled weapon system (although unarmed), were spotted near Patrolling Points 35 and 36 at Kakjung in the Nyoma constituency, as per reports.
Despite facing adversity, the local shepherds stood their ground against the People's Liberation Army (PLA), who, as usual, were adhering to customary norms that sought to illegally capture the pastoral lands of Ladakhi cattle rearers.
Indian Shepherds Confronting Chinese Troops
The incident reportedly occurred on January 2, as per information shared on Instagram by a user named Kunsang Namjal. The video footage does not depict Indian Army soldiers at the site, which is reported to be in Kakjung, bordering Tibet, within the Nyoma constituency. Ishey Spalzang, the elected councillor of Nyoma, underlined that the area is on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and is regularly accessed by local shepherds without any violation. However, the Chinese side claims it as their territory.
On January 13, Spalzang, along with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Nyoma and military personnel, conducted an on-spot verification. He asserted that there was no wrongdoing from the Indian side but acknowledged the territorial dispute with the Chinese, who insist it is their land. Ladakh Congress leader Tsering Namgyal supported the claim that the area belongs to India but expressed concern about the denial of access to shepherds.
The video captured a confrontation between Indian shepherds and Chinese troops, with both sides filming the incident on their mobile phones. The footage includes a shepherd questioning the presence of Chinese troops and their vehicles in the area. PLA soldiers attempted to obstruct the herder's mobile camera.
Tsering Namgyal pointed out the resistance of Indian civilians, who conversed with the Chinese troops in the local Tibetan language. He highlighted the struggle for grazing land and mentioned discussions between local officials and their Chinese counterparts. Konchok Stanzin, a councillor from Chushul, praised the bravery of the shepherds facing the PLA. He acknowledged the ongoing challenges arising from differing perceptions of territorial boundaries but commended the nomads for defending their land.
Stanzin underlined the collaboration between civilians and the armed forces in addressing grazing issues with the PLA. He acknowledged the support of the military, allowing local nomads to bravely confront the challenges posed by the Chinese forces. The situation underscores the complex nature of territorial disputes and the resilience of local communities in safeguarding their land.
PLA’s Incursion Attempts on Ladakhi Pastures
This incident, similar to a previous one in 2022 where PLA soldiers obstructed Indian shepherds in the Demchok area, however, had a different outcome as the situation was resolved through talks between military commanders without escalating into a physical altercation.
The lack of demarcations along the LAC has intensified recurring disputes over traditional grazing grounds, with reports suggesting that Chinese incursions often involve spies posing as local shepherds. In response to thwarting Chinese attempts at influencing, the Indian Army is actively supporting Ladakhi shepherds by providing essential facilities like electricity, roads, and water to villages near the LAC. Additionally, measures such as organising medical camps and facilitating airlifts for emergencies are being implemented to ensure the well-being of the local communities and curb any Chinese influence.
The infamous Chinese strategy includes allowing their cattle to graze in disputed territory and subsequently asserting ownership of lands when the cattle and shepherds cross into Indian territory. To prevent further disputes, the Indian Army proactively redirects the cattle to alternate pastures. The latest incident highlights the ongoing challenges and tensions between India and China along the LAC.
In the face of these challenges, Ladakhi shepherds continue to be the unsung heroes, safeguarding Ladakh’s pastoral lands from Chinese mal intentions.
Published January 30th, 2024 at 12:34 IST