Rigzin Spalbar saw it coming. “The Chinese army clashed with our soldiers on May 5. They had all kinds of weapons—iron rods, barbed wires and knives. Why did we go unarmed this time?” asks the former chairman of the Ladakh Hill Development Council.
“What you saw on the border, we have been warning about for a long time. China has been usurping our land for the past 70 years,” says Spalbar. “This time, they have taken over higher points. Our soldiers used to patrol up to Pangong Tso’s Finger 8 (The points where the slopes jut into the lake are known as fingers). The Chinese have not only come up to Finger 4, but also built a road. Same is the case at Galwan Nala. Now the road to Daulat Beg Oldi is in their range. Unless they are pushed back or there is an agreement to restore the earlier status of the LAC, they will continue to move forward.”