India, China Lock Horns in Ladakh Again: Key Developments

As tensions soared again between India and China at the LAC, here’s a report from Ladakh.

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In a fresh sign of escalating tensions between the neighbouring countries in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army had said in a statement on Monday, 31 August, that Chinese troops violated the previous consensus on the night of 29-30 August and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.

Further, in a statement on Tuesday, the MEA said that the Chinese side had engaged in “provocative action” yet again on 31 August while ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry has rejected claims that Chinese border troops tried to carry out fresh violations along the border.

Tensions soared as Indian Army announced measures to consolidate their position and thwart Chinese intentions to change the status quo in the Pangong Tso region in Ladakh, followed by a ‘stormy’ Brigade-Commander level Flag meeting in Ladakh's Chushul on Monday, 31 August.

While some reports claim that there was “no contact, no scuffle, and no engagement” between the Indian and the Chinese troops, other reports said that there were, in fact, injuries.

What India and China Are Saying

A Chinese embassy spokesperson said, "On 31 August, Indian troops violated the consensus reached in previous multi-level engagements and negotiations between China and India, illegally trespassed the Line of Actual Control again at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake and near the Reqin Pass in the western sector of China-India border, and conducted flagrant provocations, which again stirred tension in the border areas."

Countering the claim, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said, "...on 31 August, even as the ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation, the Chinese troops again engaged in provocative action. Due to the timely defensive action, the Indian side was able to prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo."

Government sources have said that physical clashes took place after Indian soldiers from nearby Thakung post intervened, in a bid to prevent the PLA from building defence.

Despite the fact that formal talks between India and China have not made any progress since July, China continues its military consolidation along the LAC, through construction of new heliports and surface-to-air missiles sites, among other things.

On Tuesday, NSA Ajit Doval along with top officials including the three service chiefs reviewed the situation at LAC. According to The Print, the review meeting was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, the three service chiefs and the Director General of Military Operations. According to the report, the meeting involved a detailed briefing on the situation in Ladakh, and a discussion of possible scenarios.

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