India, China Accuse Each Other Of Firing Along Border For First Time In Years

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India and China are accusing each other of firing in the air. They both claim that the firing incident happened during a new confrontation along the western Himalayas border.

Hundreds of troops are in eyeball-to-eyeball proximity along the remote border. China-Indian standoff erupted in a clash in June that killed 20 Indian soldiers in hand-to-hand fighting.

Both sides have observed a long-held protocol to avoid using firearms on the sensitive frontier. Though this agreement has not prevented casualties.

India claims, on Monday night, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attempted to close in on a forward Indian position at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). LAC is also called the de facto border.

“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 said in a statement. It added the Indian side acted with 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 breached the informal border through the southern bank of the Pangong Tso lake.

“The Indian troops brazenly made gunshot threat to the patrolling Chinese border guards who came forwards for negotiations. The Chinese border guards were forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation,” said a PLA representative.

China’s foreign ministry said Indian troops had illegally crossed the LAC and were the first to fire shots.

“This is a serious military provocation,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

Competing claims

Military commanders and diplomats have held several rounds of talks since July to reduce tension. However, they made little progress to thin out forces in the arid, high-altitude region.

The latest uptick in tension around the alpine Pangong lake began last month when Indian forces mobilized to deter Chinese troops.

Each nation has urged the other to restrain forward troops who have been locked in a face-off since April. India said China also intruded deep into its side of the LAC.

Beijing denies the charge.

India and China fought a border war in 1962. They continue to lay claim to thousands of square kilometers of territory stretching from Ladakh.

Also on Tuesday, five Indian youths who went missing from an eastern border state several days ago have been found in China.

“China’s PLA has responded to the hotline message sent by the Indian Army. They have confirmed that the missing youths from Arunachal Pradesh have been found by their side,” federal minister Kiren Rijiju said in a tweet, referring to the eastern Indian state that is also claimed by China.

India’s Modi faced humiliation and criticism after China killed 20 Indian soldiers using clubs and stones. According to a report, China will make India suffer ‘severe’ military losses if a war erupts between the two nations.

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