Sino-India border situation 'generally stable': China on Tawang clash

A view of the road on the way to the Line of Actual Control, at the India-China Border in Tawang, in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh | Photo: AP

Beijing: China on Tuesday said the situation along the border with India was "generally stable", days after the troops of the two countries clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, resulting in minor injuries to some soldiers on both sides.

Hours after the comments by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the Sino-India border situation, Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesman of the Western Theatre Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), issued a statement, claiming that the clash on December 9 took place when its troops on regular patrol on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were blocked by Indian soldiers.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin addressing a media briefing here said the two sides have maintained smooth communication on border-related issues through diplomatic and military channels.

Wang, however, declined to provide details of the December 9 clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement in Parliament in New Delhi on the incident in the Tawang sector.

"The Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from encroaching on our territory, and forced them to withdraw to their posts. Some soldiers from both sides were injured in the skirmish," he said in his statement in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Singh further said the Army thwarted an attempt by China's PLA to "unilaterally" change the status quo in the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9.

There were no fatalities or serious injuries to Indian troops in the scuffle, he added.

Asked about the incident, Wang said, "As far as we know, the current border situation between China and India is generally stable."

Wang also said Beijing hopes that the "Indian side will work with us in the same direction and smoothly deliver the important common understanding reached by leaders of both sides and act strictly on the spirit of relevant bilateral agreements signed by both sides and jointly preserve peace and tranquility in the border areas."

In his statement, Senior Colonel Long said on December 9, the border defence forces organised regular patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC in "Dongzhang" area in the eastern sector of the China-India border, which was "blocked by the Indian Army illegally crossing the line".

"Our troops' response is professional, firm and standard, which has helped to stabilise the situation. Both sides have been under disengagement since then," Long said.

"We ask the Indian side to strictly control and restrain the front-line forces and work with the Chinese side to maintain peace and tranquility along," he said.

It is the first major clash between the Indian and Chinese armies since the fierce face-off in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

This is also the first major incident at the border after Chinese President Xi Jinping was re-elected for an unprecedented third five-year term at the once-in-a-five-year Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

The Friday clash took place even as both countries held 16 rounds of talks between their commanders to resolve the standoffs at various points since the eastern Ladakh border standoff which erupted in May 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.

The last round of talks was held in September during which both sides agreed to disengage their troops at Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC are important for the overall development of bilateral ties.


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