India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling posts in Eastern Ladakh, a senior police officer in the union territory has said, reported NDTV.
In a worrying new revelation amid the nation’s standoff with China at several flashpoints along the precarious 3,500-km border, the police officer said, “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 (i.e. PP no. 5-17, 24-32, 37, due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISFs.”
The report was presented at the annual meeting of the nation’s senior police commanders, which took place last week in Delhi and was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
“Later on, China forces us to accept the fact that as such areas have not seen the presence of ISFs or civilians for long, the Chinese were present in these areas. This leads to a shift in the border under the control of ISFs towards the Indian side and a “buffer zone” is created in all such pockets which ultimately leads to the 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 by the officer added.
The officer wrote that PLPA has taken advantage of the buffer areas in the de-escalation talks by placing their best cameras on the highest peaks and monitoring the movement of Indian forces.
“They object to our movement even in the buffer zone, claiming it to be ‘their’ area of operation and then further ask us to move back to create more ‘buffer’ areas,” the officer wrote.
The government is yet to comment on the disclosure. Speaking to The Hindu newspaper, which first reported the police officer’s research paper, a defense source countered its assertions, saying “there is no loss of territory due to disengagement in friction areas”.