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Two Chinese J-20 aircraft have been deployed to a military base close to the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border in eastern Ladakh. The latest worrying development comes after several months of failed negotiations with neither side willing to withdraw military presence from the region after a bloody battle left 50 soldiers dead in June.
The Chinese war planes appeared in satellite images over the Hotan air base in the Xinjiang region on Monday.
The site is home to around 40 jets and strategically located just 200 miles from the mountainous LAC border in the Himalayas.
Five rounds of top-level military talks have failed to break the deadlock for peace in the territory, with India refusing to remove troops before China do so.
One Indian military official said: “The LAC is simply not negotiable.
“Our troops will remain forward deployed in eastern Ladakh till the Chinese soldiers withdraw.”
With a breakthrough in discussions highly unlikely, India has pressed ahead with combat training exercise to protect its side of the border.
An advanced winter drill has been organised for its 30,000 military personnel based in Ladakh.
Another official said: “It will require top-level political-diplomatic intervention since the military talks have failed to make any headway, with the People’s Liberation Army making unreasonable demands.”
Foreign Ministries of China and India have accused each other of breaking the 1993 treaty which dictates must maintain a limited border deployment.
On June 15, Indian and Chinese troops brawled without firearms for several hours at the Himalayan border.
In the horrific clashes, hundreds of soldiers were involved and clubbed each other to death using stones, sticks with nail rods.
The conflict left at least 20 Indian soldiers for dead and killed another 40 other Chinese personnel.
Experts have warned the lack of progress between the two world superpowers could lead to yet another devastating battle.
Michael Kugelman, deputy director at The Asia Program, fears China could deploy more troops to the region in order to prove a point to India.
He said: “If you have talks and they are inconclusive and those demands are not addressed and each side continues to do what really aggrieves the other.
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“I think that is what could lead to the type of escalation that could lead to something worse.
“If you have more Chinese troops come into India to test India and to try and teach them a lesson.
“I think the next time that happens there is a strong likelihood that you wouldn’t just have the two sides punching and brawling with each other.”
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