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Current Affairs

Patrolling Points

Date: 10 July 2020 Tags: Security Threats

Issue

The standoffs between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where initial steps towards disengagement have taken place, are around a number of patrolling points or PPs in Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra areas.

 

Details

  • PPs are patrolling points identified and marked on the LAC, which are patrolled with a stipulated frequency by the security forces.

  • They serve as a guide to the location of the LAC for the soldiers, acting as indicators of the extent of ‘actual control’ exercised on the territory by India.

  • By regularly patrolling up to these PPs, the Indian side is able to establish and assert its physical claim about the LAC.

  • Some of the PPs are prominent and identifiable geographical features, such as a pass, or a nala junction where no numerals are given. Only those PPs, where there are no prominent features, are numbered as in the case of PP14 in Galwan Valley.

  • The PPs are not posts and thus not manned. Unlike on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the border with China is not physically held by the Army all along.

  • They are just physical markers on the ground, chosen for their location, and have no defensive potential or tactical importance for the Army.

  • The claim is asserted by the Army or joint Army-ITBP patrols as they show a more visible presence in these areas. This is done by physically visiting PPs with a higher frequency, as the deployment has moved closer to the LAC and due to improved infrastructure. 

  • These PPs have been identified by the high-powered China Study Group, starting from 1975 when patrolling limits for Indian forces were specified.

  • The frequency of reaching various PPs are given in the annual patrolling programme. Based on the terrain, the ground situation, and the location of the LAC, the duration for visiting each PP is specified – it can vary from once a month to twice a year.