Brigadier-level talks have been on-going to discuss the new stand-off in the Chushul sector.
China’s military in a statement late on Monday accused India of “outrageously firing warning shots” in a new confrontation on September 7 on the south bank of Pangong Lake in the Chushul sector, which has seen escalating tensions for the past week.
File photo shows an Indian Army truck crosses Chang la pass near Pangong Lake in Ladakh region. | Photo Credit: AP
While the Indian Army was yet to confirm the events as of Monday night, China’s military described Monday’s confrontation as “a serious military provocation”.
No shots have been fired along the India-China border since 1975.
The Chinese statement suggested the on-going stand-off south of Pangong Lake marks the most serious escalation in the recent tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since the June 15 clash in Galwan Valley, when 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed. Shots were not fired during the Galwan clash.
In a late-night statement released at 01.30 am Beijing time (11 pm IST), PLA Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson of the Western Theatre Command, said “on September 7, the Indian army illegally crossed the LAC and entered the south bank of Pangong Lake and the Shenpao mountain area in the the western section of the Sino-Indian border.”
He accused Indian troops of “outrageously firing shots on Chinese border patrols soldiers who were about to negotiate,” the Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper reported.
“The Indian side’s move seriously violated related agreements reached by both sides, stirred up tensions in the region, and would easily cause misunderstandings and misjudgments, which is a serious military provocation and is very vile in nature,” the statement said. “We demand the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous moves, withdraw personnel who crossed the LAC at once, strictly control frontline troops, seriously investigate and punish the personnel who fired the provocative shot and ensure similar incidents won’t take place again.”
It added that the “PLA Western Theatre Command troops will firmly fulfil duties and missions and resolutely safeguard national territorial sovereignty.”
Tensions have been high in this sector since August 29. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said last week Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” on August 29 trying to change the status quo in the south bank, which forced India to take pre-emptive moves. India has since occupied key heights in the areas in Chushul sector.
India has said that the latest tensions on the south bank of the Pangong Lake followed China’s similar moves along the the border since early May, where it has sought to redraw the LAC in the Galwan Valley, Depsang Plains, north bank of Pangong Lake and in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, in addition to mobilising large number of troops.
The Foreign Ministers of the two countries are expected to meet on Thursday in Moscow, where they are attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ meeting. The two Defence Ministers met in Moscow on Friday at an SCO Defence Ministers’ meet, but the talks failed to make headway.
Brigadier-level talks have been on-going to discuss the new stand-off in the Chushul sector, but have also not yet appeared to have achieved a breakthrough.
With inputs from The Hindu