Chinese soldiers enter Ladakh; object Dalai Lama’s b’day celebrations

In videos that have now surfaced, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can be seen standing across river Indus with banners.

New Delhi: Chinese troops carrying banners entered Indian territory in Ladakh’s Demchok, as Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations were ongoing on July 6 earlier this month.

In videos that have now surfaced, personnel from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can be seen standing across river Indus with banners. A second video shows villagers holding the Dalai Lama’s portrait atop a vehicle as a small cavalcade rally around the village. 

As per a report by Outlook, the PLA troops shouted at locals to stop celebrations. The locals, however, remained undeterred and celebrations continued throughout the day.

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“The locals told me that PLA troops came along the LAC early morning in two to three vehicles. They were carrying banners too on which it was written that celebrations should be stopped. PLA troops also shouted at the locals and asked them to move back from LAC. However, due to the strong presence of the Indian army, locals stayed there and celebrations were completed, ” Ishey Spalzang, Councilor Nyoma told Outlook over the phone.

Ishey said in the past too China had objected to these celebrations. The Councilor said the apparent reasons are China doesn’t want any Indian activity along the LAC and it deliberately chose the day as a large gathering was expected.

He then added that this year the celebrations were muted affair due to COVID-19 restrictions. Very few locals came along the river Indus for celebrations. The PLA troops had been consistently dissuading locals from carrying out any activity along the border, but it has deeply hurt the religious sentiments of locals.

India and China have been locked in a dispute over eastern Ladakh since the Galwan incident of June 2020. While India at commander level talks has sought restoration of status quo as it existed pre-April 2020, the Chinese side has refused to discuss Demchok and Depsang flashpoints, according to officials. Two sides have had 11 rounds of military talks to resolve the eastern Ladakh flashpoints but friction points remain over Gogra, Hot springs, Demchok, and Depsang.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had greeted the Dalai Lama on his 86th birthday last week. This is the first time Narendra Modi has openly confirmed communicating with the Dalai Lama after he became the Prime Minister in 2014.

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