WW3 fears: Indian army blocks Chinese troops as fresh clashes reignite border dispute

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Military chiefs in New Delhi said Indian troops were mobilised after spotting the Chinese troops’ movement. China rejected the accusation that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops had breached the border amid soaring tensions between the two sides. The latest incident occurred on Saturday night on the shores of Pangong Tso lake, where the two sides have been locked in a face-off since April.

PLA troops carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo

Colonel Aman Anand

Some reports suggest Indian forces retaliated by capturing a strategically important Chinese military post after fighting off the attempt by 500 PLA soldiers to cross into Spanggur, a narrow valley near the village of Chushul.

Both sides had agreed to pull back after a brutal clash in June left 20 Indian soldiers dead but the Indian Army accused Chinese forces of breaching that accord over the weekend.

Indian army spokesman Colonel Aman Anand said: “PLA 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.”

He said Indian soldiers foiled the Chinese bid to “unilaterally change facts on the ground” but did not provide further details.

A source in New Delhi briefed on the incident said Chinese troops had tried to advance on a hill on shores of the lake, which India considers part of its territory.

The source said the Chinese troops were “deterred by quick movement” of the Indian troops.

But he said the Chinese forces had still made some progress and clearly violating the Line of Actual Control – the de facto border between the two countries.

China’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the Indian allegations. Spokesman Zhao Lijian said Chinese troops “always strictly abide by the Line of Actual Control, and never cross the line”.

He said both sides were in communication over the situation on the ground while the Indian Army confirmed military officials were meeting at the border today.

In recent months, India has accused Chinese troops of stealthily crossing the border and building defence structures.

Beijing has responded with counter claims, accusing Indian frontier guards of provocative actions.

Both sides have observed a protocol to refrain from using firearms on the disputed border and during the deadly clash in June, soldiers fought with rocks, clubs and their bare hands.

Despite several rounds of talks after the clash in the Galwan Valley, troops have remained facing off at other points along the border, including the shores of Pangong Tso lake which both countries claim in full.

India and China fought a war in 1962 over disputed territory and have been unable to agree a permanent border along the 2,000-mile frontier ever since.

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Security analysts said Saturday’s incident was likely to spark fears in New Delhi that China is digging in its heels on the border issue.

Brahma Chellaney, an expert on India-China ties, said: “India has been trying to downplay the intrusions since May in the hope that talks will lead to a resolution.

“But this has only encouraged China.”

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