Highlights:

  • Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh
  • The two armies have been deployed in a border stand-off for nearly 17 months
  • The face-off occurred when rival patrols came face to face in a contested area Yangtse

On Friday, officials familiar to India-China stand-off development noted that several Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh’s sensitive Tawang sector. The latest development comes at a time when both sides are proposing to conduct the next round of military talks to settle tensions in the Ladakh sectors.

The officials informed that face-off occurred when rival patrols came face to face in a contested area Yangtse, with the soldiers directing each other to retreat to their respective sides. Another official stated, “The face-off lasted a few hours before the matter was resolved at the level of local commanders.”

The official added, “Both sides undertake patrolling activities up to the perception of the borders. Whenever patrols of both sides physically meet, the situation is managed according to established protocols and mechanisms. Physical engagements can last for a few hours to disengaging as per mutual understanding. This is a routine business.”

The latest incident follows weeks after Chinese patrols comprising around 100 soldiers crossed LAC in the central sector in Uttarakhand on August 30 and damaged a footbridge before they returned to the other side. The region where the intrusion occurred is deployed by the Indo- Tibetan Border Police.

Former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd) voiced, “PLA plans to keep the entire border active so that they can keep reinforcing their claims. It can also be an act of creeping assertiveness to subsequently lay a claim to these areas.”

Earlier, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane informed that the next round of military discussions with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to reduce tensions along LAC in eastern Ladakh could take place in the second week of October. He continued that the situation on LAC was under control and outstanding problems with PLA could be resolved through talks.

As of now, the two armies have been deployed in a border stand-off for nearly 17 months. Both sides are initiating negotiation to settle tensions. Other problems at Hot Springs or Patrolling Point- 15, which is one of the abrasion points on the LAC, is likely to be considered during the 13th round of talks.

The rival armies conducted the second round of disengagement in August when both the sides withdrew their forward-deployed troops from Gogra, or Patrolling Point-17 A, with the breakthrough following after the 12th round of military talks.

In mid-February, India and China concluded the disengagement process in the Pangong Tso area, and the respective armies pulled back forward-deployed troops, infantry combat vehicles, tanks and artillery guns from strategic heights where rival soldiers fired shots for the first time at LAC after 45 years.

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