30 C

Indian and Chinese troops clash on disputed border


The contentious Himalayan border between Indian and Chinese forces has seen fighting, the first confirmed incident involving the two nuclear-armed Asian nations in almost two years.

According to a statement from India’s Ministry of Defense, the encounter, which happened on Friday in the Tawang Sector of the country’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, a desolate area that borders southern China, resulted in minor casualties to soldiers on both sides.

Long a source of conflict between New Delhi and Beijing, the 2,100-mile (3,379-kilometer) disputed border saw tensions spike in June 2020 after hand-to-hand combat between the two sides in Aksai Chin-Ladakh resulting in the deaths of at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.

According to a statement from the Indian Ministry of Defense acquired by CNN, in the most recent incident, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops “contacted” the line of actual control (LAC), the de facto boundary, which was disputed by Indian Army troops “in a robust and uncompromising way.”

The countries’ respective commanders there convened a flag meeting to examine the situation in “accordance with defined protocols to restore peace and serenity,” the statement added. Both parties “quickly disengaged from the area.” China has not yet made an official statement about the incident.

Last week, before the conflict, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told lawmakers that India had “diplomatically” made it clear to China that it “would not allow attempts to unilaterally modify” the LAC.

When asked about Sino-Indian relations, Jaishankar responded, “And that so long as they continue to seek to do that, and if they have built up forces, which in our minds constitute a serious concern in the border areas, then our relationship is not normal,” adding that the military leaders “continue to engage each other.”

In 1962, a border conflict between China and India led to the creation of the LAC. However, the two nations disagree on its exact location and frequently accuse one another of trespassing or attempting to enlarge their respective borders. In the years afterwards, including as recently as 2021, there have been a number of mainly non-lethal altercations about the location of the border, according to a statement by the Indian Army at the time.

Two years after border battles damaged diplomatic relations, the Indian government announced in September that Indian and Chinese forces had started withdrawing from the Gogra-Hotsprings border region in the western Himalayas.

That declaration was made in advance of a regional summit in Uzbekistan that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping both attended.

Both sides continue to keep a careful eye on what is happening in the area.

In Uttarakhand, a region of northern India, US and Indian troops participated in high-altitude joint exercises. According to China’s Foreign Ministry, these activities “did not assist establish mutual trust,” and Beijing had voiced its concerns to New Delhi.

As China-US relations have deteriorated and the Quad security discussion, which brings together India, the US, and American allies Japan and Australia, has intensified, China has grown suspicious of India’s relationship with the US.

Xi and Modi last shook hands at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali last month, but they did not have a bilateral meeting.

Related articles

Recent articles