NEW DELHI — Troops from India and China clashed along their disputed border last week, India’s defense minister said on Tuesday, in the latest violence along the disputed border since June 2020, when troops from both countries engaged in deadly fighting.
Addressing lawmakers in Parliament, Rajnath Singh said Friday’s meeting in the Tawang sector of eastern Arunachal Pradesh state began when Chinese troops “intruded into Indian territory” and “unilaterally tried to change the status quo” along the disputed border. near the Yangtze River. area.
Singh said no Indian soldiers were seriously injured and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon after. Troops on both sides sustained minor injuries, the Indian Army said in a statement on Monday.
Singh said local military commanders met on Sunday to discuss the dispute and the Indian government was talking to China through diplomatic channels.
Colonel Long Shaohua, the spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theater in the area, said that Chinese border guards were “conducting routine patrols on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control” but were “blocked by the Indian Army from illegally crossing. the line.”
“We request the Indian side to strictly control and curb frontline troops and cooperate with China to maintain peace and tranquility on the border,” Long said in a statement posted on official social media.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing that “the current situation on the Sino-Indian border is generally peaceful and stable.”
For decades, India and China have fiercely disputed the Line of Effective Control, a loose demarcation that separates Chinese and Indian territory from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a border war in 1962.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the government was monitoring the clash.
“We strongly oppose any unilateral attempt to advance territorial claims along the Line of Actual Control through military or civilian incursions, and we encourage India and China to use existing bilateral channels to discuss the disputed borders,” Price told reporters on Tuesday. in Washington, DC
In recent years, soldiers from both sides have patrolled the disputed border areas. The opposing militaries are in frequent contact, and the two Asian giants have accused each other of sending troops into the other’s territory.
In June 2020, a clash in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in the Karakoram Mountains sparked tensions after soldiers fought with stones, fists and clubs. At least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed. Both countries station tens of thousands of soldiers along their de facto borders, with artillery, tanks and fighter jets.
After repeated talks by military commanders, some Indian and Chinese troops have withdrawn from a key point of friction in Ladakh, but tensions between the two Asian giants remain.
Indian Army Chief Manoj Pande said in November that there was “no significant reduction” in the strength of Chinese troops in Ladakh. According to him, the border situation is “stable, but unpredictable”.
AP diplomacy writer Matthew Lee contributed from Washington.