India says it has detected unusual movement by the China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) at Ladakh. Photo: Times of India
India claims to have detected unusual movement by the China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) at Ladakh, claimed the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Sunday.
Speaking at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad during a ceremony, the IAF chief said that India knew about China's deployment across the LAC at Ladakh and Chinese air force bases.
Explaining why the IAF have moved its air bases forward, Bhadauria said that the Indian forces have witnessed an unusual movement at Ladakh.
“During summer, there are usual exercises. But at this time, we have noticed more than usual deployment. We have taken necessary action," he said.
In response to a question, he said that India was not at war with China but prepared for "any contingency".
“No, we are not at war with China. But we are prepared for any contingency. All efforts are being made to solve the situation at the LAC peacefully," he said.
When asked whether the Chinese forces held an advantage over the Indians, he said that India was "ready to handle the situation".
However, Bhadauria avoided going into details about whether the Chinese army had crossed 2km into Indian territory, saying that air patrolling in the Ladakh region has been increased.
20 Indian soldiers killed in India-China border clash at Ladakh
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh after a "violent face-off" ensued between Indian and Chinese forces on Tuesday.
Indian media had reported that both sides "have disengaged" after 17 Indian troops were injured. The injured troops "exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries", the ANI had said. This brought the death toll, from the earlier reported three to 20, it added.
UK publication The Telegraph, had quoted Indian army sources and reported that four soldiers had gone missing after the clash and a further 32 "were handed back after being captured".
Beijing accuses India of crossing border, 'attacking personnel'
China, in response to India's statement, had accused Indian troops of crossing the disputed border between the two countries and attacking its personnel.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Indian troops had crossed the border line twice on Monday, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides".
Beijing has lodged "strong protests and solemn representations" to Delhi, he had said.
"We once again solemnly ask the Indian side to follow our consensus, strictly regulate its front-line troops and do not cross the line, do not stir up troubles or make unilateral moves that may complicate matters," Press Trust of India had quoted Lijian as saying.
He added, "China and Indian side agreed to resolve the bilateral issues through dialogue to ease the border situation and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas."