Beijing: Days after yet another LAC clash between the Indian Army and the PLA – this time in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh – China tried to play victim by blaming India for instigting the conflict.
According to a report by news agency AFP, China’s PLA said on Tuesday that Indian soldiers “illegally” crossed the LAC at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and “obstructed” Chinese troops, which triggered a fresh stand-off.
Two years after the deadly clash at Galwan in Ladakh, the Indian Army and and the People’s Liberation
Army (PLA) of China have clashed again at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) this time at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
China said the situation was “stable” on Tuesday at the LAC with India, after reports emerged that a fresh stand-off had taken place between the Indian Army and the PLA on their disputed Himalayan frontier at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh late on December 9.
The incident is thought to be the most serious on the nuclear-armed Asian giants’ disputed frontier since 2020 when 20 Indian troops were martyred during a brawl. Reports by intelligence agencies from the US and Russia had claimed that more than 50 Chinese soldiers had been killed although the PLA only admitted four casulaties which had caused anger among the families of the fallen soldiers.
News agency AFP quoted officials as saying that Chinese soldiers came close to the area near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border – where it had been agreed that neither side would patrol.
But China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin did not comment on the alleged clash on Tuesday, telling reporters “as far as we understand, the China-India border situation is stable overall.”
“Both sides have throughout maintained unobstructed dialogue on the border issue through diplomatic and military channels, it is hoped that the Indian side will advance in the same direction as China,” he added.
China also urged the Indian government to “earnestly implement the important consensus reached by both leaders, strictly abide by the spirit of the agreements and accords signed by both sides, together uphold the peace and tranquility of the China-India
Media reports quoted unnamed sources as saying that the incident involved around 300 members of China’s People’s Liberation Army, and that China suffered a greater number of injuries — claims Beijing has not commented on.
A request for comment to China’s Ministry of National Defense by AFP went unanswered om Tuesday. Relations have been at rock bottom between the two countries since clashes in 2020.
Briefing the Parliament on Tuesday regarding the recent encroachment attempt by China at the LAC in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, Defence Minister asserted that the Indian Army had successfully pushed back the PLA.
“On December 9 in the Yangtse area of Tawang sector, PLA troops of China encroached upon and attempted to change the status quo at the LAC. This attempt was tackled by our Indian Army troops in a determined manner. Our troops bravely stopped the PLA from encroaching upon our territory and forced them to go back to their post,” Rajnath Singh said.
“In this face-off, few soldiers on both sides suffered injuries. I’d like to tell this House that none of our soldiers died or suffered any serious injury. Due to the timely intervention of Indian military commanders, PLA soldiers have retreated to their own locations,” the Defence Minister added.
Tawang, which had borne witness to several bloody encounters during the 1962 war between India and China, is in focus over half a century later due to te latest clash between the Indian Army and the PLA.
Before the recent clash between India and China in the Yangtse area near Tawang, Chinese drones had moved very aggressively towards the Indian positions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh forcing the Indian Air Force to scramble its fighter aircraft deployed in the region.
The Chinese military has been behaving aggressively over issues in the Yangtse in the vicinity of the Holydip and Parikrama area on the LAC where the Chinese side has been opposing Indian positions.
“In the last few weeks, there have been two to three occasions where our fighter jets had to be scrambled to tackle the Chinese drones moving towards our positions on the LAC. The Su-30MKI jets had to be scrambled to tackle the air violation threat,” defence sources told ANI.
The Indian Air Force keeps a close watch on Chinese drone activities along the LAC in the northeast. The actions have to be taken as the drones or any aircraft can not be allowed to violate the airspace, they said.
The sources said if the drones fly parallel to the LAC, the Indian side does not have any issues with it but if the aircrafts or drones are picked up by radars flying towards Indian territory, necessary actions have to be taken to prevent any violation, they said.
The Indian Air Force has a strong presence in the northeast with squadrons of Su-30 fighter jets deployed at multiple locations including Tezpur and Chhabua in Assam.
The Rafale combat jets have also been deployed very close to the LAC at Hashimara in West Bengal.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also strengthened its air defence coverage in the area with the operationalisation of the S-400 air defence system in the Assam sector only. The system can take care of any aerial threat over almost the entire area.
The Chinese and Indian side recently agreed on multiple measures to prevent any aerial escalation after the violation of air space by Chinese in Ladakh sector earlier this year.
After the provocations by the Chinese in the area, the Indian side strongly took up the issue at military talks and it was decided that the fighter aircraft of both sides would remain much behind their perceived Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the area.
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