ISLAMABAD: Pakistan rejected Indian electronic and social media reports of additional deployment of troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Gilgit-Baltistan and the alleged use of Skardu airbase by China, terming them ‘irresponsible’ and “far from truth”.
In a statement, the DG ISPR said that no such movement or deployment of additional forces has taken place and that Pakistan “vehemently deny presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan”. Indian media reports have claimed, without evidence, that Pakistan Army has started deploying thousands of troops near the LoC at Gilgit-Baltistan, as tensions between India and China simmer over the Ladakh border clash last month in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Indian news outlets have also claimed that a Chinese refueller aircraft was spotted at Pakistan’s Skardu airbase, which the DG ISPR has also denied. At least 20 Indian soldiers die in ‘violent face-off’ with Chinese troops at Ladakh. The Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh after a “violent face-off” ensued, Indian media had reported, quoting the Indian army.
The ANI 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”, added ANI. This brought the death toll, from the earlier reported three to 20. “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation,” the NDTV had said, quoting an official statement.
China, in response to India’s statement, accused Indian troops of crossing a disputed border between the two countries. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had said Indian troops had crossed the border line twice, “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides”. Beijing said it had lodged “strong protests and solemn representations” to Delhi.
“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 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.”