NEW DELHI: India will now impose costs on China whenever it tries its favourite salami-slicing tactics in a bid to incrementally grab territory, a move that marks a decisive change in India’s long-standing border management policy to largely maintain “peace and tranquility” along the Line of Actual Control, said top official sources.

The “days of walk-in options for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are over” said the sources, even as Indian armed forces went on their highest state of alert along the 3,488-km LAC as well as the eastern seaboard after the bloody skirmish in the Galwan Valley region of eastern Ladakh left 20 Indian soldiers dead on Monday night.

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China has also further reinforced its military build-ups along the LAC, especially in the areas facing the Galwan Valley, Daulat Beg Oldi, Depsang, Chushul and other such areas of eastern Ladakh.

But the Indian defence establishment is not too perturbed, with an almost war-like alert being declared along the LAC from Ladakh to

Arunachal Pradesh

with the Army well-prepared to take care of any contingency. The LAC in eastern Ladakh, for instance, has well over 15,000 Indian soldiers deployed in forward areas, with more backing them in the rear.

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“Our soldiers will not move back. There will be no compromise on our territorial integrity. China has played this game of cartographic aggression too many times for too long. They transgress into our territory, arbitrarily make claims, keep on repeating them as if they are true, and then paint India as the aggressor,” said a source.

This will no longer be allowed, with the PLA being made to “bear losses” for every attempt it makes to grab territory, he added. This tough new line comes after a flurry of meetings in South Block, which included PM Narendra Modi and defence minister Rajnath Singh reviewing the border situation in Ladakh with the top military brass on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Indian defence establishment is also re-thinking the protocol followed by its soldiers of not carrying firearms in the forward areas along the LAC in the face of the continuing belligerence from the PLA. “The PLA has flouted all bilateral agreements and laid-down border management protocols, including specific provisions in the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) of 2013,” said the source.

Though the PLA has been needling Indian forces with repeated incursions across the LAC for long, the number has jumped up since the 73-day confrontation on the Bhutanese territory of

Doklam

near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017.

From 296 such incursions or transgressions in 2016, they rose to 473 in 2017, 404 in 2018, and 663 in 2019. The PLA has also increasingly been showing aggressive behavior and assertiveness in some new areas like the Galwan Valley region and the Naku La sector in north Sikkim.

Soon after the violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops on the north bank of Pangong Tso (Tso means lake) on May 5-6, another had taken place in Naku La on May 9. The skirmish in the Galwan Valley region on Monday night, of course, surpassed them all in terms of violence and deaths on both sides, the first time in 45 years.

In Video:India-China standoff: Security forces on almost war-like alert along LAC

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