Chinese troops carried rods, spears, clubs and pole weapons called 'Guandao' in aggressively trying to close in on an Indian position in Mukhpari area of Rezang-La ridgeline in eastern Ladakh on Monday evening, government sources said on Tuesday.
As tension escalated at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the sources said around 50-60 soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) approached the Indian post in the southern bank of Pangong lake area at around 6 PM but the Indian Army personnel posted there strongly confronted them, forcing their retreat.
It may be recalled that the Chinese troops had mounted a savage attack on Indian soldiers with stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs during the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.
The government sources said the Chinese army may have planned to engage Indian troops on Monday evening in a way similar to the clashes in Galwan Valley as its soldiers were carrying rods, spears, clubs and 'Guandao'.
Guandao is a type of Chinese pole weapon that is used in some forms of Chinese martial arts. It has a blade mounted atop a long wooden pole.
When the Indian Army forced the Chinese troops to return, they fired 10-15 rounds in the air to intimidate Indian soldiers, in the first use of firearms along the LAC after a gap of 45 years. The previous instance of shots being fired at the de-facto border was in 1975.
The sources said Indian troops did not use any firearm.
They said the attempt of the Chinese troops was to remove Indian Army from the strategic heights in Mukhpari peak and Rezang-La areas.
The PLA has been eyeing to capture the strategic heights in the last three-four days, the sources said, adding the Chinese troops damaged an iron fence on Monday evening which was put up by Indian troops in the area.
India continues to dominate strategic peaks around the southern bank of Pangong lake area overlooking key Chinese formations in the Moldo area.
The PLA late on Monday night alleged that Indian troops crossed the LAC and "outrageously fired" warning shots near the Pangong lake.
Rejecting the charges, the Army on Tuesday said that at no stage the Indian troops crossed the LAC or resorted to use of any "aggressive means", including firing, as alleged by the Chinese PLA.
"At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing. It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manuveres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress," the Army said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are set to hold the keenly anticipated bilateral talks on Thursday against the backdrop of a massive spike in tension in eastern Ladakh triggered by fresh face-offs between the two armies along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Jaishankar and Wang are in Moscow to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting.
Besides the bilateral talks, the two leaders are expected to come face-to-face during a luncheon meeting of foreign ministers of Russia-India-China (RIC) on Thursday.
Tensions escalated manifold along the LAC in eastern Ladakh after the Galwan Valley clashes. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.
The border situation deteriorated again after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has strongly objected to India's move. However, India has maintained that the heights are on its side of the LAC.
It has also rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following China's transgression attempts.