LAC dispute: China mobilizes thousands of troops, armored vehicles near border with India

Thousands of paratroopers, armored vehicles, and equipment were reportedly mobilized in a military drill by China with the country saying they could be deployed “within hours” to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India in the Himalayas, where tensions have again flared.
Both India and China have been at loggerheads over disagreements regarding LAC in India’s eastern Ladakh. Throughout the month of May, several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies, in a clear signal of escalating tension.
According to state media reports, the soldiers and armored vehicles were transported from the central province of Hubei to an unspecified location in China’s northwest plateau, thousands of kilometers away, in “just a few hours”.
Footage of troops boarding civilian planes and trains in the “manoeuvre operation” was aired on a state broadcaster on June 6, the same day top generals from China and India held talks in Moldo, on the Chinese side of the unmarked boundary.
They were trying to defuse a stand-off with border troops engaging in fist fights and stone-throwing in the Galwan River valley between Indian administered Ladakh, and Chinese-administered Aksai Chin.
Major Colonel Mao Lei, head of a PLA Air Force brigade training department that led the operation in the northwest, said it had made “significant breakthroughs” in terms of the scale of mobilized troops and how they were transported.
“[Using civilian transport] substantially expanded our means of transporting forces and increased efficiency in manoeuvring an entire organization of troops,” Mao told the media.
The report did not give their location, but an article published in a state tabloid on June 5 directly linked the People’s Liberation Army drill with the border tensions.
The latest flare-up in the long-running dispute has seen Chinese state media accuse India of “illegally constructing defence facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region”. Meanwhile, Indian media reports have quoted military sources as saying that Chinese forces had entered Indian Territory by 1-3 kilometers.
Both nations have attempted to play down the stand-off. Indian media reported that talks between the two sides’ military commanders on June 6 were “inconclusive”, while India’s Ministry of External Affairs said they were held in a “cordial and positive atmosphere”.
On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the situation was “stable, under control and mutual in terms of solving problems”.
“We have reached one consensus – that both sides have to carry out the previous consensus made by the top leadership so as to avoid escalating a disagreement into a dispute,” Hua said.
The high-level military meeting came after Indian and Chinese foreign ministry officials held a videoconference to discuss the border tensions on June 4.
Border tensions between China and India have simmered for years. The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory. India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km. Both countries fought a frontier war in 1962, with regular flare-ups since then – though no shot has been fired since the 1970s.
The last major stand-off ran for more than 70 days at the Doklam plateau in 2017, triggered by Chinese road-building in the area, which is claimed by China and Indian ally Bhutan.
The following year, China and India pledged to set up a hotline between the two militaries in a bid to strengthen communication at the border.