Indian and Chinese soldiers clash near border
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Chinese soldiers armed with tasers, spiked clubs and knuckledusters were involved in savage clashes with Indian troops in a remote border region, eyewitness reports have said. However, Beijing has accused Indian forces of illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control which separates the world’s two most populous countries and in order to attack a routine PLA patrol.
A report by India Today claimed the Chinese troops were carrying spiked clubs with nails hammered through them, so-called monkey fists, a crude weapon wrought from iron (which is worn on the wrist), taser guns and sticks.
Rajnath Singh, India’s defence minister today confirmed the brutal exchanges, marking the latest violence along the contested frontier after similar clashes two years ago, when troops from both countries engaged in a deadly brawl.
Addressing India’s Parliament, Mr Singh said Friday’s violence along the Tawang sector of eastern Arunachal Pradesh state began when Chinese troops “encroached into Indian territory” and “unilaterally tried to change the status quo” along the disputed border near the Yangtze River area.
Mr Singh said no Indian soldiers were seriously hurt and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon after.
A statement from the Indian army on Monday said troops on both sides suffered minor injuries.
Mr Singh said that local military commanders met Sunday to discuss the dispute and the Indian government spoke to China through diplomatic channels.
Indian journalist Shiv Aroor yesterday claimed nine Indian and 22 Chinese troops had been received minor injuries during the fighting.
He further claimed: “The Indian side had pre-deployed. They had advanced intelligence about the possibility of such an intrusion and attack by the Chinese.”
Colonel Long Shaohua, the spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theatre responsible for the area, offered a different version of events, saying Chinese border guards organised “a routine patrol on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control” but were “blocked by the Indian army illegally crossing the line”.
He added: “We ask the Indian side to strictly control and restrain front-line troops, and work with China to maintain peace and tranquility on the border.”
At a daily briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenin said “the present situation on the China-India border is peaceful and stable overall”.
For decades, India and China have fiercely contested the Line of Actual Control, a loose demarcation separating Chinese and Indian-held territories, from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety.
India – now led by President Narendra Modi – and China – now led by President Xi Jinping – fought a brief but bloody war over the border in 1962, at the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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In recent years, soldiers from both sides have patrolled areas along the disputed border. Opposing soldiers often come into contact and the two Asian giants have accused each other of sending troops into the other’s territory.
In June 2020, a clash in the Karakoram mountains in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh sparked tensions after soldiers fought with stones, fists and clubs. At least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died. The countries both stationed tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border.
After multiple meetings between military commanders, some Indian and Chinese soldiers have pulled back from a key friction point in Ladakh, but tensions between the two Asian giants remain.
In November, Indian army chief Manoj Pande said there had been “no significant reduction” in Chinese troop strength in Ladakh. He said the border situation was “stable but unpredictable.”
The Times of India today reported that the Indian Air Force has had to scramble its fighters jets two or three times in recent weeks to prevent incursions by Chinese drones along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.
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