India-China stand-off: Sgr-Leh highway closed for civilian traffic, restored after few hours

India-China stand-off: Sgr-Leh highway closed for civilian traffic, restored after few hours

 

Traffic was closed due to landslides on the highway, no other reason: SSP Ganderbal

Raja Syed

Srinagar, Aug 31: The authorities in Kashmir closed Srinagar-Leh highway for civilian movement due to landslides for a few hours after which traffic was resorted on the highway, officials said.

A senior police official told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that the road was closed for the civilian traffic due to landslides but evaded the query how Army convoy was being allowed on the same track. “Let the weather improve, civilian traffic will be allowed too,” he said, and refused to elaborate further.

Witnesses said that a huge Army convoy movement was witnessed on the Srinagar-Leh highway after fresh skirmishes at eastern Ladakh between Indian and Chinese troops.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Ganderbal, Muhammad Khalil Poswal, said that the highway was closed only for the clearance work as landslides have occurred due to the downpour. “Once the weather improves civilian vehicles will be allowed to move,” he said, adding that there was no need to panic and the situation was well under control.

Furthermore, passengers who were on the way to Leh from Srinagar said that only civilian vehicles were stopped at Gagangeer-Manigam check-post in Sonmarg and other points while Army vehicles were smoothly plying on the highway.

Earlier in the morning, the Indian Army in its statement issued stated that Chinese troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.

“Indian troops pre-empted the PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

“The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity,” the statement further read.

It may be recalled that during the first round of de-escalation process on June 16 in the ensuing year at Eastern Ladakh, 20 soldiers lost their lives and at least 76 were admitted to different health institutions following which talks at different levels were held and are still underway to pacify the tensions. Meanwhile, after remaining closed for a few hours, the traffic was later restored on the highway. Talking to KNO, the SSP Ganderbal said that traffic was restored after remaining closed for a few hours. “It was due to landslides at some places and there was no other reason,” he said—(KNO)

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