Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi: Amid their tense standoff in eastern Ladakh, Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a clash in the high-altitude Naku La region in North Sikkim on January 20, an incident described by the Indian Army on Monday as a "minor face-off".

In a statement, the Indian Army said the face-off was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols.

The incident at Naku La became public on Monday hours after senior commanders of both the armies concluded a nearly 16-hour-long meeting in an attempt to defuse tension in eastern Ladakh.

It is learnt that troops from both sides sustained minor injuries in the physical brawl in Naku La.

People familiar with the developments along the Line of Actual Control said the Chinese troops attempted to transgress into the Indian side of the frontier in Naku La but were stopped by the Indian military personnel.

They said both sides brought in additional troops to Naku La following the brawl and the situation was under control thus far.

It is also learnt that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the top military brass were apprised about the incident.

Naku La, located at an altitude of 16,000 feet, was the same site where Indian and Chinese troops had engaged in a fierce clash in May last year days after a violent face-off between the two sides in Pangong lake area in eastern Ladakh.

The incident in the Pangong lake area triggered the nearly nine-month-long military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

When asked about the incident in Naku La, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said: "On the specific incident you mentioned, I don't have any information to offer."

Zhao told a media briefing in Beijing that the Chinese border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquillity along the border with India.

In view of the tense border row with China in eastern Ladakh, the Army has significantly ramped up deployment of troops in all sensitive areas along the nearly 3,500-km-long LAC including in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors.

India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.

Close to 100,000 troops of the Indian Army and the Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) are deployed in eastern Ladakh; both sides have been holding on to their ground and showing readiness for a long-haul, amid continuing diplomatic and military talks to find an amicable solution.

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Free Press Journal