- the Chinese Army has built new roads in the area to connect with a network of military infrastructure that makes it easy for its troops to move quickly, said Saurav Jha, editor-in-chief of the Delhi Defense Review.
- Col. Long Shaohua, a spokesman for the Chinese Army, said that soldiers were doing routine patrols on their side of the disputed border when Indian soldiers tried to cross the line and were stopped.
In a disputed border area, Indian and Chinese troops with fists, clubs, and stun guns fought again, hurting several soldiers on each side. This shows that tensions have not gone away since a deadly fight more than two years ago.
Along a 2,100-mile border called the Line of Actual Control, India and China have been fighting for decades. Indian defence officials say that Chinese military forces are claiming more and more land that India has been in charge of for a long time.
The latest fight happened on Friday in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, in an area called Tawang that China says is a part of Tibet. Near a 17,000-foot mountain peak where India has a military post, there was a short fight between two groups of soldiers. China said that it was just doing a normal patrol on its side of the border, but India said that Chinese troops had crossed into Indian territory.
The area is important in more ways than one. Tawang has a lot of political meaning because it is where the sixth Dalai Lama was born and where the largest Buddhist monastery in India is. India took over the area in 1951, the same year that China took over Tibet. Eight years later, the current Dalai Lama, who is now 87, went into exile in India.
Long-simmering tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours came to a head in June 2020 in the northern region of Ladakh, where 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops died in hand-to-hand combat. That battle was the worst border fight between the two countries since 1967. It was also the first time in 45 years that someone died in a fight between the two countries along the disputed border.
In January 2021, a fight broke out in Sikkim, a state hundreds of miles west of Arunachal Pradesh. Several soldiers were hurt.
Rajnath Singh, India’s defence minister, told Parliament on Tuesday that Chinese soldiers had “encroached upon and tried to change the status quo” of the disputed border, but that Indian soldiers had stopped them.
Mr. Singh said that on Sunday, local commanders from both sides met to talk about the conflict. He also said that the Indian government had talked to Chinese officials through diplomatic channels.
“Our troops fought back against the Chinese attempt in a firm and determined way,” Mr. Singh told the lawmakers.
In a statement released on Monday, India’s Army said that soldiers from both sides had left the Line of Actual Control, which is patrolled by soldiers from both countries.
Even though the fight was over quickly, it showed that the border dispute was far from over, even though both countries promised in September to calm down and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, met last month on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Indonesia.
In a statement to Parliament, India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said that India’s relations with China were unlikely to go back to normal until there was peace on the border. This was said before the fight last week.
Deependra Singh Hooda, a retired lieutenant general who led India’s Northern Command, which covers part of the border with China, said that any physical fight between soldiers from the two countries should be taken seriously, especially in a time of mutual mistrust.
“In this case, the problem seems to have been solved after a meeting of the field commanders on Sunday,” Mr. Hooda said, referring to the meeting of the flags. “However, these kinds of fights could get worse and lead to a bigger conflict in the area.”
In recent years, the Chinese Army has built new roads in the area to connect with a network of military infrastructure that makes it easy for its troops to move quickly, said Saurav Jha, editor-in-chief of the Delhi Defense Review.
So it was only a matter of time before the Chinese soldiers started asking questions, Mr. Jha said.
Col. Long Shaohua, a spokesman for the Chinese Army, said that soldiers were doing routine patrols on their side of the disputed border when Indian soldiers tried to cross the line and were stopped.
He said, “Our response was professional, standard, and strong, and we were able to calm things down on the ground.” “At the moment, China and India are not working together.”