India and China Blame each other for Firing in the Air on Tensed Border
India and China have blamed each other for firing in the air at the time of a new confrontation on their border in the western Himalayas. This has resulted in a further escalation of military tension between the nuclear-armed nations.
Eyes are Locked!
Hundreds of troops are poised in eyeball-to-eyeball proximity along the remote border, which indulged in a clash in June that resulted in the loss of 20 Indian soldiers in hand-to-hand fighting.
Both sides have witnessed a long-held protocol to avoid utilizing firearms on the sensitive, non-demarcated frontier, though this agreement has not resulted in the prevention of casualties.
On Monday night, troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tried to close in on a forward Indian position at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), or the de facto border, in the Ladakh sector, the Indian army said in a statement.
“And when dissuaded by own (Indian troops), PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops,” the army explained in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the Indian side acted with a sense of restraint.
“At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing,” it said.
However, China said the Indians had infiltrated the informal border through the southern bank of the Pangong Tso, where tension has been surging for over a week.
Long Stretch of Disputed Land
“The Indian troops brazenly made gunshot threat to the patrolling Chinese border guards who came forwards for negotiations, and the Chinese border guards were forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation,” said Zhang Shuili, who is a representative of the PLA’s western theater command.
Military commanders and diplomats have arranged many rounds of talks since July to cut some tension. However, they have made little progress to decrease forces in the arid high-altitude that both nations claim and consider as vital to their security.
The latest surge in tension around the alpine Pangong lake started late last month when Indian forces mobilized to deter Chinese troops, whose movements suggested they aimed to captivate a hilltop, which India regards as its territory, Indian officials said.
Each nation has asked the other to restrict forward troops who have been locked in a faceoff since April after India said China infiltrated deep into its side of the LAC.
“We request the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions…and strictly investigate and punish personnel who fired shots to ensure that similar incidents do not occur,” the PLA’s Zhang said in the statement about Monday’s incident.
India and China fought a border war in 1962 and persist to lay claim to thousands of square kilometers of territory laying from the snow deserts of Ladakh in the west to mountain forests in the east.