Srinagar: Chinese troops carried rods, spears, clubs and pole weapons called ‘Guandao’ in aggressively trying to close in on an Indian position in Mukhpari area of Rezang-La ridgeline in eastern Ladakh on Monday evening, reported PTI quoting government sources.
The sources said around 50-60 soldiers of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) approached the Indian post in the southern bank of Pangon lake area at around 6 PM but the Indian Army personnel posted there strongly confronted them, forcing their retreat.
It may be recalled that the Chinese troops had attacked Indian soldiers with stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs during the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.
The government sources said the Chinese army may have planned to engage Indian troops on Monday evening in a way similar to the clashes in Galwan Valley as its soldiers were carrying rods, spears, clubs and ‘Guandao’.
Guandao is a type of Chinese pole weapon that is used in some forms of Chinese martial arts. It has a blade mounted atop a long wooden pole.
When the Indian Army forced the Chinese troops to return, they fired 10-15 rounds in the air to intimidate Indian soldiers, in the first use of firearms along the LAC after a gap of 45 years. The previous instance of shots being fired at the de-facto border was in 1975.
The sources said Indian troops did not use any firearm.
They said the attempt of the Chinese troops was to remove Indian Army from the strategic heights in Mukhpari peak and Rezang-La areas.
The PLA late on Monday night alleged that Indian troops crossed the LAC and “outrageously fired” warning shots near the Pangong lake.
Rejecting the charges, the Army on Tuesday said that at no stage the Indian troops crossed the LAC or resorted to use of any “aggressive means”, including firing, as alleged by the Chinese PLA.
“At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing. It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive maneuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress,” the Army said.
Later in the day, China’s Foreign Ministry said that “It was the Indian side that fired first in the Monday incident in which Indian troops again illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) of the China-India border and outrageously fired warning shots at Chinese border defense patrol personnel who were attempting to negotiate.”
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.
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.
The talks between the two sides have been going on for the last three months including five Lieutenant General-level talks but have failed to yield any results, so far.
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.
India and China are engaged in a stand-off since April-May in multiple areas including Finger area, Galwan valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan valley in June.
India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday said the situation at Eastern Ladakh was “very serious” and called for “deep conversations between the two sides at the political level”.
With inputs from agencies
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