Army chief says confrontations between Indian, Chinese armies in Sikkim and Ladakh are not related
Around 20 soldiers from both sides were reportedly injured in the two incidents.
Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane said on Thursday that the confrontations between the Indian and Chinese armies in North Sikkim and Eastern Ladakh were not related, PTI reported.
Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a face-off on May 9 at Naku La in North Sikkim, resulting in minor injuries to several soldiers on both sides. The Indian Army said in a statement that “aggressive behaviour and minor injuries took place on both sides”. However, both sides disengaged after dialogue. Four Indian and seven Chinese soldiers were wounded.
Another confrontation took place in Eastern Ladakh, starting May 5. In this case, the Indian Army alleged that Chinese soldiers became aggressive, following which there was a physical brawl between the two sides. The scuffle took place on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. Both the northernmost tip of Sikkim and Aksai Chin in Ladakh are treated as disputed areas by the Chinese.
“It is reiterated that both these incidents are neither co-related nor do they have any connection with other global or local activities,” Naravane told journalists on Thursday. “All such incidents are managed by established mechanisms wherein local formations from both sides resolve issues mutually as per established protocols and strategic guidelines given by the prime minister after the Wuhan and Mamallapuram summits.”
Naravane asserted that Indian border troops always maintain peace along the border. He added that the infrastructure development in the region will not be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “Our force posture will not suffer,” he added.
The situation in the Eastern Ladakh region remains tense with troops of the two countries maintaining a close watch on each other, according to PTI. Around 10 soldiers from both sides sustained injuries in the incident.
In 2017, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a 74-day standoff in Doklam on the Sikkim border. The Chinese Army accused the Indian military of stopping the construction of a road in what it claims is China’s “sovereign territory” in the Sikkim sector. China then stopped the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.