India: Chinese Troops Just 'Tried to Change the Status Quo'

Soldiers clash along contested 'Line of Actual Control' between 2 nations; minor injuries reported
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 13, 2022 9:20 AM CST
India: Chinese Troops Just 'Tried to Change the Status Quo'
A view of the road on the way to the "Line of Actual Control," at the India-China border in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, on Oct. 30, 2006.   (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi, File)

Soldiers from India and China clashed last week along their disputed border, India's defense minister said Tuesday, in the latest violence along the contested frontier since June 2020, when troops from both countries engaged in a deadly brawl. Rajnath Singh, who addressed lawmakers in Parliament, said Friday's encounter along the Tawang sector of eastern Arunachal Pradesh state started when Chinese troops "encroached into Indian territory" and "unilaterally tried to change the status quo" along the disputed border near the Yangtze River area, per the AP. Singh said no Indian soldiers were seriously hurt and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon afterward. A statement from the Indian army on Monday said troops from both sides suffered minor injuries.

Singh said that local military commanders met Sunday to discuss the dispute and the Indian government spoke to China through diplomatic channels. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin gave no details on the incident at a daily briefing but said China hopes India will join it in carrying through agreements between the sides and "together safeguard peace and tranquility in the region along the China-India border." "As far as we understand, the present situation on the China-India border is peaceful and stable overall," Wang said.

For decades, India and China have fiercely contested the "Line of Actual Control," a loose demarcation that separates Chinese- and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a war over the border in 1962. In recent years, soldiers from both sides have patrolled areas along the disputed border. Opposing soldiers often come into contact, and the two Asian giants have accused each other of sending troops into the other’s territory.

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In June 2020, a clash in the Karakoram mountains in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh sparked tensions after soldiers fought with stones, fists, and clubs. At least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died. The countries both stationed tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks, and fighter jets along their de facto border. After multiple meetings between military commanders, some Indian and Chinese soldiers have pulled back from a key friction point in Ladakh, but tensions between the two Asian giants remain. In November, Indian army chief Manoj Pande said there'd been "no significant reduction" in Chinese troop strength in Ladakh. He said the border situation was "stable but unpredictable."

(More India stories.)

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