Ladakh, in the far north of the country, is the source of mounting tension after Beijing drafted in thousands of soldiers, as well as artillery and vehicles, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which divides the world’s two most populous nations. At least 23 Indian soldiers died in savage hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan valley, where Chinese troops had put up temporary camps, with some reports suggesting the men were beaten to death with nail-studded bats. Urgain Chodon, who is a councillor for Mr Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Ladakh, accused the Indian government of standing by in the face of what he said amounted to a Chinese land grab.
She said: “There is a lot of land which has been annexed by China, not only this time in the Galwan Valley but all along the LAC.
“I have been raising my voice and even meeting with the local administration.
“They know about it but neither the government or the media have raised their voices about it.”
Speaking at an all-party meeting held to discuss the issue on Friday, Mr Modi had claimed the land had never belonged to India in the first place – but Ms Chodon told The Daily Telegraph: “The government is lying, whatever they are saying is not true.”
Her remarks illustrate growing levels of unease within the BJP.
Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the BJP’s MP for Ladakh, has already called for a “one-time solution” involving the seizing of Chinese land in retaliation.
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Speaking last week, Frank O’Donnell, a Nonresident Fellow with the Stimson Center South Asia Program in Washington, described the clashes as “very disturbing”, warning there was a potential for them to escalate alarmingly.
He told Express.co.uk: “It will require exceptional diplomacy on both sides for this not to get uglier, and resolution can only come once China abandons its claims to the entire Galwan River Valley in Ladakh and retreats to its previous positions at the LAC.”
Mr O’Donnell also highlighted the cautious tone Mr Modi has adopted.
He explained: “Notice how he says ‘On provocation, India will give a befitting reply’.
“This is being read in India as him saying that the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers was somehow not this ‘provocation’.
“For comparison, in 2019 Pulwama/Balakot, Modi was far less ambiguous, promising simply ‘a befitting reply.’
“This indicates that Modi is still trying to seek a negotiated climbdown with China, which should be welcomed.
“However, any negotiated resolution must involve Chinese forces going back to their positions on their side of the LAC, and abandoning their Galwan River Valley claim.
“The difference between his rhetoric on Pakistan and China is like night and day.”