India, China troops in new clash over disputed frontier – reports
Indian and Chinese troops have brawled on their contested Himalayan border, leaving injuries on both sides, India’s military and media reports said.
“It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols,” the Indian army said Monday.
Naku La connects the Indian state of Sikkim to the Tibet region in China.
Media reports quoted Indian military officials as saying there were casualties on both sides in the brawl last week.
A Chinese patrol tried to cross into Indian territory and was forced back, the officials said.
The incident came six months after a pitched battle which killed at least 20 Indian troops and an unknown number of Chinese forces.
Hand-to-hand fighting on the Sikkim border in May last year set off the latest frontier tensions between the world’s two most-populous nations.
In June, troops from the two sides fought with fists and wooden clubs in the Galwan valley of the Ladakh region, killing 20 Indians and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers.
China and India, who fought a border war in 1962, blamed each other for the dispute and each has poured tens of thousands of extra troops into border zones.
The latest de-escalation talks between military commanders were held on Sunday.
Chinese and Indian troops have reportedly clashed again in a disputed border area, with injuries on both sides, Indian media say.
The incident took place in north Sikkim last Wednesday. India’s army said there had been a “minor” incident that had been “resolved”.
Tensions are high along the world’s longest disputed border. Both sides claim large areas of territory.
At least 20 Indian soldiers died in a skirmish in the Ladakh area last June.
It happened at the Nathu La pass in north Sikkim, the media reports said. Sikkim is an Indian state sandwiched between Bhutan and Nepal, about 2,500km east of the Ladakh area.
A Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory and was forced back, the officials said.
An Indian army statement played down the incident, saying there “was a minor face-off at Nathu La area of North Sikkim on January 20 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per protocols”.
One source told the Times of India that both sides brought in reinforcements after a “brawl” but there was no gunfire and the situation was under control.
The latest reports about skirmishes show that tensions are still running high.
The Indian army statement shows that both nations are still keen on keeping the dialogue route open and don’t want skirmishes to derail the process.
They have conducted several military-level talks to ease tensions but nothing concrete has come of them yet.
And troops are still facing each other at several flashpoints along their contested border. - BBC