South Asia

Indian and Chinese troops clash at border

Photo: Indian media.

Soldiers from India and China clashed last week along their disputed border, India’s defense minister said Tuesday, in the latest violence along the contested frontier since June 2020.

According to a statement issued by the Indian Army on Monday, troops on both sides suffered minor injuries during the clash on Friday.

Also on Monday, Rajnath Singh told Indian lawmakers that Friday’s encounter along the Tawang sector of eastern Arunachal Pradesh state started when Chinese troops “encroached into Indian territory” and “unilaterally tried to change the status quo” along the disputed border near Yangtze.

Singh said no Indian soldiers were seriously hurt and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon afterward.

He also said local military commanders met Sunday to discuss the dispute and the Indian government spoke to China through diplomatic channels. There was no immediate comment from the Chinese side, Associated Press reported.

For decades, India and China have fiercely contested the Line of Actual Control, a loose demarcation that separates 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 and China fought a war over the border in 1962 and 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 each other’s territory, AP reported.

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 have 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 countries 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.”