New Delhi: Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 and the face-off resulted in “minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides”, the Indian Army said on Monday.
The clash near Yangtse along the LAC in the sensitive sector took place last Friday amid the over 30-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh.
“On December 9, PLA troops contacted the LAC in Tawang Sector which was contested by own (Indian) troops in a firm and resolute manner. This face-off led to minor injuries to few personnel from both sides,” the Army said in a statement.
“Both sides immediately disengaged from the area. As a follow up of the incident, own (Indian) commander in the area held a flag meeting with his counterpart to discuss the issue in accordance with structured mechanisms to restore peace and tranquillity,” it said.
The Army statement did not mention the number of troops involved in the face-off and those injured in the incident.
However, a source indicated that there were more than 200 Chinese soldiers involved and they were carrying spiked clubs and sticks, and injuries on the Chinese side could be higher. But there was no official word on the same.
The Army said there are areas of “differing perception” along the LAC in the Tawang sector.
“In certain areas along the LAC in the Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh there are areas of differing perception, wherein both sides patrol the area up to their claim lines. This has been the trend since 2006,” the Army said.
It is the first major clash between the Indian and Chinese armies since August 2020 near Rinchen La in eastern Ladakh.
Meanwhile, the Congress said it was a worrying development and China’s actions on the border are completely unacceptable. The opposition party alleged that the Modi government was suppressing the border issue due to which China was acting with increasing audacity.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said the government should be honest about the Chinese transgressions and take the nation in confidence by discussing the issue in Parliament.
Arunachal East BJP MP Tapir Gao condemned the Chinese PLA’s action and said such incidents are not good for Sino-India relations.
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse in October last year as well and it was resolved following talks between local commanders of the two sides as per established protocols.
The ties between India and China nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry.
Following the eastern Ladakh standoff, the Indian Army significantly bolstered its operational capabilities along the LAC in the eastern theatre.
The eastern theatre largely comprises the border areas along the LAC in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and the frontier areas have a number of sensitive forward locations including in the Tawang and North Sikkim sectors.
The Army put into place an effective surveillance apparatus and there has been a substantial improvement in overall monitoring of the areas in the last two years, military officials said.
In September, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita said that the Indian Army is continuously monitoring activities of the PLA along the LAC and is well-poised to mitigate any challenges.
“We are also continuously monitoring the activities along the borders. We are vigilant and observant of each and every development along our borders,” he said.
India has been maintaining that its relationship with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
India has been ramping up the development of infrastructure along the near 3,500-km LAC following the eastern Ladakh standoff that began on May 5, 2020.