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Face off on between Indian Army and PLA on LAC over irrigation canal in Demchok


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Leh/New Delhi: A tense face-off is on between Indian and Chinese troops since Wednesday in Demchok area on the Line of Actual Control after the People's Liberation Army (PLA) objected to civilian work being undertaken by the Indian Army engineers under MNREGA scheme.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Chinese troops raised objections when the Indian Army engineers were constructing an irrigation canal
linking 'Hot Spring' waters for the villagers in Demchok, located 250 km east of Leh, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

According to official sources, at around 1055 hours on Wednesday, there was a face-off between Indian Army and PLA at 'Hot Spring' place, located in general area of Demchok which continued till night.

In the morning, the Chinese troops again came to the LAC as soon as the Indian engineers started laying the water pipes and the face-off was continuing, the sources said.

Around 55 PLA soldiers arrived on the scene and halted the work in an "aggressive manner", prompting the army and
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel to rush to the spot and stop the "high-handedness" of Chinese troops, they said.

The Chinese troops took positions on the perceived Line of Actual Control (LAC) and demanded that work be stopped as either side needs to take permission from each other before undertaking any construction work, a claim disputed by the India which says that as per the agreement between the two countries, information about construction needed to be shared only if it was meant for defence purposes.

Both sides pulled out banners and have been stationed on the ground, the sources said, adding the Army and ITBP
troopers were not allowing the Chinese "to move an inch" ahead despite the PLA claiming that the area belonged to China.

The area had witnessed a similar incident in 2014 after it was decided to construct a small irrigation canal at Nilung Nalla under the MNREGA scheme which had been a sore point with the Chinese.

The PLA had mobilised villagers from Tashigong to pitch Rebos (tents) at Charding-Ninglung Nallah (CNN) Track Junction to protest Indian action.

The 'Hot Spring' is different from the one in Chashool where Police Day is observed in the memory of 10 CRPF men
killed in 1959 by Chinese troops.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, senior Army officers insisted that there was no face-off and the issue is being resolved through established procedures.

They added that such objections by either side are not uncommon and situations like these are resolved amicably.

First Published On : Nov 3, 2016 21:23 IST

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