India “rushed troops” to its border with China in the Ladakh Valley hours after Beijing boasted that it had “bolstered” its military presence along the border on Monday, the Economic Times of India reported.
On Monday, Chinese state media reported that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had increased its presence on the border it shares with India in the Galwan Valley. Hours later, the Times reported that India had responded to what it viewed as China’s “aggressive deployment,” rushing in “additional troops” and constructing “defensive positions” along the Galwan River in Ladakh.
According to China’s report, published by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper Global Times, PLA border troops strengthened China’s “on-the-spot response” in the valley. The report warned that “if India escalates the friction, the Indian military force could pay a heavy price.”
According to the Times, Indian military sources say “several hundred soldiers from each side” have been deployed to the area. The Indian sources cited reports claiming that the Chinese have set up “over 80 tents” to construct “temporary defensive positions,” adding that “fast response reinforcements” have also been sent to the Galwan River.
The Galwan River flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region, which China claims to administer as part of its Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions. India also claims the Aksai Chin region as part of its Ladakh Valley territory; Ladakh is part of the larger region of Kashmir, also claimed by both sides. India and China have faced off along this border since 1962 when the two states fought a war over the disputed territory near the Himalayan mountain range.
China claimed to have increased its military presence on Monday in response to India’s “recent, illegal construction of defense facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region.” Indian military sources explained to the Times that India has not been building illegal defensive military fortifications. Rather, it has been constructing a road “to carry out patrols in the area” and for use by the local population.
According to the report, the PLA’s attempt to halt India’s construction of the road has led to the current tension along the border. The military sources add that “an extensive road network has already been established by China on the other side of the border.”
This is the latest development in an ongoing standoff along the boundary between the two nations in the Ladakh region. On May 12, the Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed fighter jets to carry out regular patrols of the Ladakh area after Chinese helicopters flew aggressively close to Indian airspace along the border. This followed shortly after a skirmish on the ground between 150 Indian and Chinese troops on May 9.