The MEA has confirmed the reported skirmish between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the banks of Pangong Lake in Ladakh on 15 August, three days after the incident.
“I can confirm that there was an incident at Pangong Tso on 15 August…. Such incidents are not in the interest of either side,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
China, however, had said on Wednesday said that it was not aware of the reports of PLA soldiers entering Indian territory along the banks of the Pangong lake in Ladakh and said it is committed to peace and tranquillity along the border.
Indian border guards foiled an attempt by Chinese soldiers to enter India's territory on the north bank of Pangong Lake in Ladakh on Tuesday, reported PTI, quoting officials.
When asked to comment on the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hu Chunying said: “I am not aware of the information.”
She said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops always patrol along the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). "The Chinese side is committed to peace and tranquillity of the China-India border," she said.
"We urge the Indian side abide by the LAC and relevant conventions between the two sides," she said.
What is the ‘Ladakh Incident’?
Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) tried to enter the Indian side in two areas – Finger Four and Finger Five – twice between 6 am and 9 am on 15 August. But on both the occasions their attempts were thwarted by alert Indian troops, officials said.
After the Chinese troopers found their path blocked by Indian soldiers who formed a human chain, they began hurling stones, prompting swift retaliation by Indian border guards.
Personnel from both sides received minor injuries and the situation was brought under control after the customary banner drill under which both sides hold banners before stepping back to their respective positions.
The stand-off lasted 30 minutes, India Today reported, after which the forces pulled back.
The skirmish along the border comes at a time when the countries are locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector. The standoff has been ongoing for more than 50 days, after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area.
The Finger Four Area
The Finger Four area in the region has been a bone of contention between India and China as both claim it to be a part of their territory.
The situation along the banks of the lake has always remained volatile with Chinese troops being intercepted by Indian Army patrol several times after the three-week long stand-off in the Depsang plains of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in May 2013.
When the Indian side staked claim to the area during negotiations in late 1990s, the Chinese army constructed a metal-top road and insisted it was part of Aksai Chin, which is under the latter's control, officials said.
China had constructed a road up to Finger Four which falls in the Siri Jap area and is five kms deep into the LAC.
Earlier, the Chinese patrols used to come frequently from the northern and southern banks of this lake, whose 45-km stretch is on the Indian side, while 90 kms is on the Chinese side.
Indian forces are now armed with high-speed interceptor boats bought from the US, which can accommodate nearly 15 soldiers and are equipped with radars, infra-red and GPS systems.
Indian and Chinese Army Officers Meet
Senior Indian and Chinese army officers held a “pre-scheduled” Border Personnel Meeting near Chusul border area in Ladakh.
The sources said the meeting discussed the incidents and issues to ensure “strengthening of existing mechanisms for maintaining peace and tranquility” on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that divides the cold Ladakh region between India and China.
US Calls For ‘Dialogue’ Between India-China
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called for “direct dialogue” between India and China over the ongoing Doklam standoff, reported ANI.
Just that we are encouraging both parties to sit down and have direct dialogueHeather Nauert told ANI
Addressing a question on US’s stand on the standoff, Nauert said: “As you know, we have relationships with both governments. We continue to encourage both parties to have conversations”.
According to the report, US had insisted on diplomatic talks between the two countries on 11 August, adding that it has monitored the Doklam standoff “closely.”
(With ANI inputs)
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