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India, Chinese troops came face-to-face at Naku La in Sikkim last week

An IAF fighter jet flies over the Ladakh region amind India-China standoff in Leh. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Indian and Chinese troops clashed at Naku La in North Sikkim last week, in what the Army termed a “minor face-off”, resulting in some minor injuries on both sides, it has been learnt.

“It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on January 20, 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols,” the Army said in a statement.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing in Beijing that he had “no information to offer” on the incident but “would like to stress the Chinese border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquillity along the border with India.”

The clash occurred as People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops attempted to intrude into Indian territory, a defence source said. There were some minor injuries on both sides but the situation was resolved and under control, the source added.

May 9 clash

There was a clash at Naku La on the night of May 9 last, which also saw injuries on both sides. There was a clash at Pangong Tso also at that time as the nine-month-long stand-off began at several locations across Eastern Ladakh.

The clash occurred amid high alert and heavy deployment of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on both sides since the stand-off began. With peak winters and extremely low temperatures, the situation has been largely quiet as both sides dug in while diplomatic and military-level talks continue attempts to work out an agreement for disengagement and de-escalation.

Responding to questions on the Naku La incident, Mr. Zhao said, “We urge the Indian side to work in the same direction with us and refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border. We hope both will take proper actions to manage the differences and take concrete actions to safeguard the peace and stability along the border”.

The Communist Party-run Global Times quoted Chinese military sources as saying reports of injuries on both sides were “fake”. “There is no record of this incident in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) front line patrol logs,” the newspaper said. “In recent days, the focus of the military’s top leaders on both sides has been the ninth round of corps commander-level talks, not a new border clash… There have been minor frictions between the front line forces of the two countries, but if there had been friction involving casualties, it is impossible for them not to be recorded in the Chinese patrol logs.”

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 11:36:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-china-hold-marathon-military-talks-on-disengagement-of-troops-in-eastern-ladakh/article33654089.ece

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