NEW DELHI :
The Indian Army on Sunday confirmed that its soldiers were engaged in a tense face-off with Chinese troops along India’s frontiers with China in northern Sikkim attributing it to the undemarcated boundary issue between the two countries.
The face-off which included “aggressive behavior and minor injuries on both sides” according to the Indian army took place after a long time. The Indian army statement comes after a report in the Hindustan Times on Sunday which said that scores of Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off in Sikkim on Saturday. The confrontation between the troops took place near the Naku La sector at a pass at a height of more than 5,000 metres, the Hindustan Times report said.
The last major standoff between the two sides took place on the Doklam plateau in 2017 when the armies of the two countries faced-off against each other for 73 days.
The confrontation comes as India – as most of the world — has been focused on arresting the spread of the novel coronavirus disease in the country, that first surfaced in China in December. China has been engaged in aggressive diplomacy towards Western countries who have sought clarity from Beijing on the origins of the covid-19 pandemic that has crippled the world economy and sickened almost four million people across the globe. Undeterred by the impact of the pandemic, China has also reportedly been making moves seen as aggressive in the South China Sea in recent weeks – establishing new administrative districts for the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos and naming 80 islands and other geographical features in the sea, claiming sovereignty over underwater features in the contested region. China’s announcements drew sharp responses from countries like Vietnam and the Phillipines but Beijing was unmoved.
According to the Indian Army statement on Sunday, “temporary and short duration face-offs occur as boundaries are not resolved.” The reference was to the undemarcated India-China border seen as a legacy of the 1962 war between the two countries that ended badly for India. Many rounds of talks between the two sides is yet to yield any results. Both sides routinely accuse each other of incursions into the other’s territory due to the border not being clearly marked.
“Aggressive behaviour and minor injuries took place on both sides,” it said adding that the troops “disengaged after dialogue and interaction at local level.”
“Troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols. Such an incident occurred after a long time,” the Indian Army statement added.