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China may have marshalled close to 5,000 soldiers on its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh sector where India has also sent military reinforcements to strengthen its defences as growing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) threatens to plunge the bilateral relationship to a new low.

Indian and Chinese soldiers are eyeball-to-eyeball at four locations along the LAC and several rounds of talks between local military commanders , including a meeting on Monday, have failed to end the standoff that began with a violent confrontation between rival patrols three weeks ago near Pangong Tso.

There have been troop reinforcements by China, around 5,000 of whose troops may now be present in the region, two officials said on condition of anonymity. The Chinese forces are not concentrated anywhere near the flashpoints, but scattered on their side,

Sending the military reinforcements, including troops, vehicles and heavy equipment, did not require much effort as China diverted the resources from an ongoing military exercise in the region, said one of the officials cited above.

India is tracking all aspects of the Chinese deployments and parity in troop numbers is being ensured, China’s state-run media has described the latest tensions as the worst since the 2017 Doklam standoff that lasted 73 days.

Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane made a low-key visit to Ladakh last week for a security review as tensions grew between India and China near Pangong Tso and three pockets in the Galwan Valley region where Chinese troops have pitched close to 100 tents and erected temporary structures to establish a presence.

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