Chinese border guards entered one kilometre into Indian territory and threatened shepherds grazing cattle in the Barahoti area of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district last week, official sources said on Monday.

What exactly happened?

The incident took place on the morning of July 25. A group of shepherds was asked to vacate the land by the People’s Liberation Army, officials said on the condition of anonymity.

However, Hindustan Times quoted Chamoli’s SP Tripti Bhatt saying, “I am not supposed to comment since it’s a matter of the strategic relationship between two nations. But there has been something (in Barahoti). Partially, it (the news report) is correct.”

Why is this ‘breach’ significant?

The incident comes in the backdrop of the standoff between Chinese and Indian troops at Dokalam near Sikkim. Financial Express reported that this incident comes ahead of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s visit.

Barahoti, an 80 sq km sloping pasture about 140 km from the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, is one of three border posts in what is known the ‘middle sector’, comprising Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

It is a demilitarised zone where Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawans are not allowed to take their weapons, officials said.

What was the Indo-China settlement?

In 1958, India and China listed Barahoti as a disputed area where neither side would send their troops. In the 1962 war, the PLA did not enter the middle sector and focused on the western (Ladakh) and eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.

After the war, ITBP jawans would patrol the area with weapons in a non-combative manner — with the barrel of the gun facing down.

During negotiations on resolving the border dispute, the Indian side unilaterally agreed in June 2000 that ITBP troops would not carry arms in three posts, Barahoti and Kauril and Shipki in Himachal Pradesh.

With inputs from PTI

Feature image source: PTI