Word of the clash which reportedly took place in north Sikkim on Wednesday is only now being revealed, where frontline border patrols tend to be unarmed.
“A Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory and was forced back, the officials said,” according to BBC, citing regional media. “Some reports said sticks and stones were used, but there were no gunshots.”
Typically frontline border patrols on either side are unarmed because of the history of tensions, which each side fears could lead to border war between Indian and China.
According to the latest from The Times of India:
Sources said the brawl at Naku La took place after Indian troops challenged the attempt by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to intrude into Indian territory.
“Both sides brought in some reinforcements…there were injuries on both sides in the physical clash. But there was no firing. The situation is under control,” said a source.
North Sikkim, site of this latest incident, lies about 1500 miles east of the Ladakh area, the latter being the site where after a nighttime clash over 20 Indian soldiers died last June.
That deadly fight resulted ratcheting tit-for-tat accusations later resolved back to an uneasy status quo after months of military to military de-escalation talks, which are currently in their ninth round of dialogue.
Like the initial aftermath of that prior clash, the Chinese PLA military is keeping mum on this incident, which the Indian Army calling it relatively “minor” and describing it as “resolved”.
Indian has charged the Chinese side with military build-up and expansion in and along disputed border zones which constitutes a violation of status quo agreements, as Times of India alleges further:
China has built new roads and lateral links, surface-to-air missile positions and helipads in different sectors stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, while also establishing civilian settlements in “disputed but occupied areas” in the eastern sector.
China’s Foreign Ministry for its part simply called on India to “refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border”.