PLA troops enter Demchok, fume at Dalai Lama’s birthday events

NEW DELHI: There was an ingress by Chinese troops in Demchok in Ladakh to protest against celebrations of Tibetan religious leader Dalai Lama’s birthday in Indian villages.

The Chinese intruders, according to reports, crossed the Indus to the Indian side to display banners and the Chinese flag. Most Buddhists in Ladakh hold the Dalai Lama in reverence and his winter palace near Leh is kept in a state of constant readiness.

The Indian army refused to comment on the incident. The intrusion was not regarded as serious but part of the Chinese pin-prick tactics in the region. The Chinese obstruct Indian patrols in parts of Demchok area and this is part of the stalled India-China military talks. The latest incident occurred on July 6 at Doley Tango near Koyul, about 30km southeast of Demchok.

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According to reports, the Chinese, comprising Army personnel and civilians, came in five vehicles and raised banners near the village community centre where the Dalai Lama’s birthday was being celebrated.

While the festivities were on, Chinese kept a vigil from distance and conveyed their objection. Quoting officials, the reports said the Chinese troops stayed on the Indian territory for about 30 minutes. Chinese irritability over the Dalai Lama has always been pronounced and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to call the Tibetan leader and greet him on his 86th birthday would not have been well-received in Beijing.

In a tweet on last Tuesday morning, PM Narendra Modi said, “Spoke on phone to His Holiness the @DalaiLama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. We wish him a long and healthy life.” The Indian government had also pointedly not wished China on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. The Indian and Chinese sides remained engaged in talks that have not progressed after the mutual withdrawal in the Pangong Tso region in Ladakh.

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