A new report has revealed that Indian security forces lost 26 out of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh amid an ongoing standoff with arch-foe China along the 3,500-km disputed Himalayan border.
The revelation was made in a research paper submitted at the annual Director General of Police (DGP) Conference of the country's top police officers in the capital New Delhi last week.
"Presently there are 65 PPs (Patrolling Points) starting from Karakoram pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs (Indian Security Forces). Out of 65 PPs, our presence is lost in 26 PPs due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISFs," said the officer, whose name was not mentioned.
The report, first published in the Hindu newspaper, says while these points lagged behind surveillance from the ISFs, China has forced India to accept that these areas now have a Chinese presence.
"This leads to a shift in the border under the control of ISF towards the Indian side and a ‘buffer zone’ is created in all such pockets which ultimately leads to loss of control over these areas by India. This tactic of PLA (China's People's Liberation Army) to grab land inch-by-inch is known as ‘Salami slicing’.”
The report was one of the 15 submitted by police officers on the subject of ‘Security Issues Pertaining to Unfenced Land Border.’
It said the lack of patrolling in these PPs had provided an opportunity for the PLA to capture them.
It said the Indian Army has been restricting the movement of civilians and graziers into the area as the Chinese have installed cameras and can raise objections.
Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video conversation with the soldiers stationed along the India-China border in Eastern Ladakh and inspected their combat readiness.
Xi, in his remarks to the troops, referred to how “in recent years, the area has been constantly changing” and how it had impacted the army.
The Delhi conference, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, came just over a month after India accused China of trying to "unilaterally change the status quo" on their contested border following a fresh stand-off.
The latest flare-up followed joint military exercises last month between India and the United States in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, which borders China.
After multiple meetings between military commanders, some Indian and Chinese soldiers were pulled back from Ladakh.
The Line of Actual Control is the de facto border separating Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a war over the border in 1962.
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