The issue of incursion by Chinese troops in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand this month echoed inside Lok Sabha with opposition parties — Congress and the TMC –, seeking government reply on the same. In an incident ringing bells for the security establishment, Chinese troops recently violated the demilitarised zone by land and air in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
According to the reports, the Chinese troops were seen camping along with arms in an area while its helicopters flew in the Indian air space for over five minutes.
Raising the issue, Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindhia sought government reply dubbing the incident as grave and concerning the national security of the country.
Trinamool’s Saugata Biswas and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too raised the issue.
The matter came to light on Wednesday after official sources confirmed the incident of incursion taking place on July 19 in Barahoti area of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. While Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat termed the development as “something to worry about”, MoS Home Kiren Rijiju asked the central armed police force ITBP, manning the Sino-Indian border from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, to look into the matter.
According to the sources, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops were seen in the area when state government officials accompanied by ITBP personnel in civil visit Barahoti ground. The civilian team was sent back by Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops, who claimed it to be their land and recognised it as ‘Wu-Je’.
Later, it was found that a Chinese helicopter hovered over the ground for nearly five minutes before returning to its side, according to the official sources. It was identified as Zhiba series of attack helicopter of the PLA.
Barahoti is one of three border posts in the zone comprising Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where ITBP jawans are not allowed to take their weapons as per the unilateral decision of the then government in June 2000.
In 1958 both countries listed Barahoti, an 80-square KM sloping pasture, as a disputed area where neither side would send their troops. In 1962 war, Chinese PLA did not enter the 545-KM middle-sector and focused on Western (Ladakh) and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.
However, after 1962 Sino-Indian war, the ITBP jawans used to patrol the area with weapons in non-combative manner under which the barrel of the gun is positioned downward.
During prolonged negotiations on resolving border dispute, the Indian side had unilaterally agreed in June 2000 that ITBP troops would not be carrying arms to three posts which included Barahoti besides Kauril and Shipki in Himachal Pradesh.
The area has, however, been in focus with transgressions taking place in this area from Chinese side.
(With inputs from the agencies)