In an article 25 years ago, after the resolution on August 20 of the Wangdung intrusion along Sumdorong Chu, I had asked: ‘Why are we quitting our territory?’
The question can be asked again. A study of Wangdung near the infamous Thagla Ridge — 20 km south of McMahon Line and beyond the limit of Indian patrolling — is instructive after the PLA incursions in eastern Ladakh. If only civilian and military officers had examined the earlier intrusion — the rapid reaction of local military commanders, swift concentration of forces, offensive spirit in dominating Wangdung and a firm negotiating strategy — we could have avoided the present fait accompli.
On June 16, 1986, the PLA pre-emptively occupied Wangdung, a seasonal post that used to be held by the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau. 12 Assam and 9 Guards occupied the Lungrola and Hathungla Ridges by early July and by October, with forward elements of 12 Assam establishing posts along four spurs surrounding Wangdung — two forward checkposts 150 yards from those of the PLA were created. 12 Assam was replaced by 3/5 Gorkhas.