The Indian Army on Tuesday denied that that it had resorted to firing or any other aggressive measures across the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and accused China of blatantly violating bilateral agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres in the region amid de-escalation talks.
“At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing,” the Army said in a statement. “It is the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress.”
The Army added: “In the instant case on 07 September 2020, it was the PLA troops who were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops. However, despite the grave provocation, own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner.”
China on Monday night claimed Indian soldiers fired warning shots in a new confrontation at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh near the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake. As a result, the country said it took “countermeasures to stabilise the situation on the ground”. The accusation was made in a statement issued just after midnight in Beijing by Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the PLA Western Theatre Command.
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The latest escalation came just four days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Moscow. Singh had told the Chinese defence minister that China had violated bilateral agreements by trying to unilaterally change the status quo along in Ladakh and exhibiting aggressive behaviour. He had added that the two countries must continue bilateral talks to try and reduce tensions at the border.
China, on the other hand, claimed India was “entirely” responsible for the border tensions and added that it would not surrender even “an inch of its territory”.
The southern bank area of Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh has recently emerged as a new area for stand-off between India and China. India said earlier this month that it had thwarted “provocative movements” by Chinese troops in the region twice on August 29 and August 31.
Border tensions first erupted in early May between the two sides, but the situation escalated dramatically when Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a violent standoff in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15. Twenty Indian soldiers and an unspecified numbers of Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, which was the worst violence between troops of the two countries in 40 years.