New Delhi: Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday described as false information relating to a reported confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops in the north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
“The MoD sources said, “Please refer to certain queries regarding confrontation with PLA (People’s Liberation Army) troops in Arunachal Pradesh. It is clarified that the information is false. Meanwhile, the Army has also issued a statement saying that India’s 70th Independence Day on Tuesday was “well celebrated all across border areas.”
It also confirmed that, “sweets were exchanged between the Indian Army and PLA troops in multiple border locations, including in the area of Doklam.”
The army was apparently countering reports of a fresh clash breaking out with Chinese troops in the Doklam Plateau, where a nearly two-month-long standoff over a trilateral border territorial ownership is still on. The army also refuted reports appearing in some media that both sides had commenced “Flag Meetings” to resolve the issue in Doklam and Ladakh that has strained bilateral relations between the two nations.
It said, ” Report of flag meeting started is incorrect.”
These comments attributed to the Ministry of Defence and the Army came hours after Indian and Chinese soldiers were reportedly involved in an altercation in the Pangong Lake area, further raising tensions between the two countries.
Sources said Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel reportedly formed a human chain and foiled a bid by Chinese troops to enter Indian territory on foot in Ladakh, near the Pangong Lake. Chinese soldiers tried to enter Indian territory from Finger Four and Finger Five posts along the banks of Pangong Lake in Ladakh between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., but on both occasions, they were reportedly thwarted by alert Indian troops
It was also reported that several Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and in the ensuing melee, there were minor injuries on both sides. China has also said that it was not aware of reports of PLA soldiers entering Indian territory along the banks of the Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
Asked to comment on the incident,Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hu Chunying said, “I am not aware of the information. The Chinese side is committed to peace and tranquillity of the China-India border. We urge the Indian side abide by the LAC and relevant conventions between the two sides.”
The two sides have frequently accused each other of intrusions into each other’s territories, but clashes are rare. The two armies are already engaged in a standoff in the Doklam Plateau further east, in another part of their 3,500-kilometer-long unmarked mountain border. China has repeatedly asked India to unilaterally withdraw from the Doklam area, or else face the prospect of a military-related escalation.
The trouble started in June when India sent troops to stop China building a road in the Doklam area, which is remote, uninhabited territory claimed by both China and India’s ally Bhutan.
New Delhi said it sent its troops because Chinese military activity in Doklam, near the trijunction of the borders of India, China and Bhutan, was a threat to the security of its own northeast region, especially in Sikkim. But Beijing has said India had no role to play in the area and diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis have not made much headway.
Further updates are awaited.