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Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Chinese troops are currently present on the north bank of Pangong Lake in Ladakh in an area that is beyond what even China described as its official boundary during talks with India in 1960.


The records contradict China’s current claims of where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) runs.

Shifting Positions

  • In 1960, India certainly viewed China’s presence in areas where the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) transgressed in May 2020 as being beyond Beijing’s own territorial claims.
  • At the north bank of Pangong Tso, the PLA moved up to Finger 4 and prevented India from crossing Finger 4.
  • China now claims up to Finger 4, while India says the LAC is at Finger 8.
  • However, since May 2020, for the first time, completely cut off India’s access to its LAC at Finger 8, effectively shifting the line 8 km west.
  • China’s current moves to enforce its Line of Actual Control (LAC) claims, which sparked the recent border incidents, mark a shift from what Beijing told India in 1960 about where its boundaries were, both in the Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake.

The Fingers refer to mountain spurs on the bank, and run from 1 to 8, west to east.

MEA report

Regarding Pangong Lake

  • Following border talks in 1960, that failed to break the impasse, it was decided that officials of the two governments would meet “to examine factual materials in the possession of the two governments to support their stands.”
  • Three rounds of talks were held, and following the final session in Rangoon – the official report was signed.
  • In this report, the coordinates of the point where the Chinese side said it reached the Pangong Lake – roughly corresponds to an area near Finger 8.
  • However, now this point is around 8 km east of where China now says the LAC is (and where it transgressed in May 2020).

Regarding the Galwan Valley

Regarding the Galwan Valley, based on Chinese response to when India asked for heights of peaks and locations of passes (to demarcate) in the area in 1960, China has gone beyond its 1960 claims both in Pangong Tso and in the Galwan Valley.

In the Galwan Valley, the 1960 line ran east of the bend of the Galwan river, called the Y-nallah. This is the site of the clash in June 2020.

Click Here to read more about Aksai Chin and History of India – Chine Border Dispute

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023