New Delhi: In a bid to avoid any kind of skirmishes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have established a hotline in the North Sikkim region.
“A hotline was established between Indian Army in Kongra La, North Sikkim and PLA at Khamba Dzong in Tibetan Autonomous Region to further the spirit of trust and cordial relations along the borders. The event coincided with the PLA Day on 01 Aug 2021,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Sunday.
The Defence Ministry said the armed forces of the two countries have well established mechanisms for communication at ground commanders level.
“These hotlines in various sectors go a long way in enhancing the same and maintaining peace and tranquility at the borders,” the Defence Ministry added.
The Defence Ministry further said the inauguration was attended by ground commanders of the respective armies, adding a message of friendship and harmony was exchanged through the hotline.
The Indian and Chinese troops had earlier on January 20 this year physically clashed in the high-altitude area of Naku La in north Sikkim with several soldiers being injured on both sides after the Indian troops repelled an attempt by the Chinese troops to enter the Indian territory.
The PLA has been showing assertiveness all along the Line of Actual Control even as Indian Army remains in a state of high alertness to respond to aggressive actions, IANS reported.
The face-off was resolved, as per established protocols, by the local commanders.
The troops of both sides had also clashed on May 9 last year at Naku La, which had left several soldiers on both sides injured.
This took place just after the violent clashes on the north bank of in eastern Ladakh on May 5-6 when the PLA was making multiple attempt of incursions into the Indian territory.
Later on the night of June 15, 2020, a deadly physical clash at Galwan claimed the lives of 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.
The Sikkim border, including the tri-junction, is extremely critical and sensitive for New Delhi because if a Chinese breakthrough happens here, they can reach and block the Siliguri corridor — a narrow, 27-km wide strip of the Indian territory that connects India’s entire north-eastern region with the rest of the country.
The Chinese control over the Siliguri corridor could cut off the entire northeast. India, therefore, guards Sikkim heavily with two mountain divisions to prevent this.