Indian and Chinese troops clash on disputed border

New Delhi

Indian and Chinese troops have clashed on a disputed Himalayan border, the first known incident between the two nuclear-armed Asian powers in nearly two years.

India’s defense ministry said in a statement that soldiers from both sides suffered minor injuries in Friday’s clash in Tawang sector in India’s northeastern Arunachal Pradesh region, a remote, inhospitable region bordering southern China.

The 2,100-mile-long (3,379-kilometer) disputed border has long been a source of friction between New Delhi and Beijing, with tensions rising sharply in June 2020 when hand-to-hand combat between the two sides resulted in at least one fatality. 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers in Aksai Chin-Ladakh.

Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh accused Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops of trying to “unilaterally” change the status quo by attempting to cross the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two countries.

“The ensuing encounter led to a physical confrontation in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from crossing into our territory and forced them to return to their posts,” Singh said, adding that there were no serious injuries on the Indian side.

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India’s defense ministry said in an earlier statement that both sides had “immediately withdrawn from the area” and that the countries’ respective commanders had held a flag meeting to discuss the matter “in accordance with structured mechanisms for the restoration of peace and order”.

Singh said the meeting took place on Sunday and was asked by China to “refrain from such actions and maintain peace and order” on the border. He added that the issue is being resolved through diplomatic channels.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not directly acknowledge the incident at a regularly scheduled news briefing on Tuesday.

“As far as we know, the Sino-Indian border region is generally stable and both sides have been communicating smoothly on border issues through diplomatic and military channels,” he said. reporters to “authorities” for “special information”.

China said it hoped India would be on the same page “to jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the Sino-Indian border”.

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India and China went to war over the border areas in 1962, resulting in the creation of the LAC. But the two countries disagree on its exact location, and each regularly accuses the other of encroaching on it or expanding its territory. Since then, there have been a number of non-fatal skirmishes over the position of the border, including the latest known instance in 2021, according to an Indian Army statement at the time.

In September, Indian and Chinese troops began withdrawing from the Gogra-Hotsprings border region in the western Himalayas, two years after clashes strained diplomatic ties along the border, the Indian government said.

The statement came ahead of a regional summit in Uzbekistan attended by both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Activities in the region are closely monitored by both sides.

On November 30, China’s Foreign Ministry criticized joint high-altitude exercises between the US and Indian militaries in northern India’s Uttarakhand, saying the exercises “did not help build bilateral trust” and expressed Beijing’s concerns to New Delhi.

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China has been wary of India’s ties with the United States in recent years as Sino-US relations have soured and the Quad security dialogue, which includes India, the US and US allies Japan and Australia, has become more active.

Modi and Chinese leader Xi last met at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali last month, where the two shook hands but did not have a bilateral sit-down conversation.

Speaking in parliament last week before the clash, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said there had been an “abnormality” in Sino-Indian relations in recent years due to border concerns and that New Delhi was “very clear” diplomatically with China. Attempts to unilaterally change the LAC will not be tolerated.

“So that As long as they will try to do this and if they have gathered forces in the border areas that cause serious concern, then our relations are not normal,” Jaishankar said in response to a question about China. The Indian link added that the military commanders “continue to be in touch with each other”.


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