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Chinese Army entered Barahoti in Uttarakhand, threatened shepherds

Barahoti: Chinese border guards entered one kilometre into Indian territory-Line of Actual Control (LAC)- and threatened shepherds in the Barahoti area in Uttarakhand, official sources said on Monday.

The latest incident came almost a year after People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were spotted on the Indian side in the same area of Chamoli district. The incident occurred on July 25 and the Chinese troops went back after about two hours, sources said.

“I am not supposed to comment since it’s a matter of the strategic relationship between two nations. But there has been something (in Barahoti). Partially, it (the news report) is correct,” Tripti Bhatt, Chamoli’s superintendent of Police, told HT.

In New Delhi, sources said, “incidents of a similar nature have happened in the past but are normally sorted out locally”. Such incidents “should not be given undue importance”, the sources added.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the Indian Army is keeping a close watch on the 370-km frontier with China in Uttarakhand following the standoff near the Sikkim border.

In June, a Chinese helicopter violated Indian airspace and hovered for around four minutes over Barahoti, the superintendent of police of Chamoli had confirmed.

Barahoti is an 80-km-long pasture located 140 km from Uttarakhand’s capital Dehradun where local grazers go with their livestock. The Hoti river and Parvati Kund (lake) make the area a favourite grazing ground, said SS Pangti, a retired IAS officer.
“Barahoti is very vulnerable (to incursions) as it has several passes,” said Pangti, who has extensively travelled in the state’s border districts.

Former chief ministers Vijay Bahuguna and BC Khanduri, in a meeting, said Chinese troops, had trespassed into the Indian side more than 30 times in the past decade.

Last year, an inspection team of Uttarakhand officials on a routine visit to the LAC near Barahoti encountered some Chinese soldiers on July 19. The PLA troops appeared “out of the mist” and signalled to the Indian team to go back. The state government had confirmed this incident.