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Indian and Chinese troops clash at border in new face-off


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NEW DELHI – Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed along their disputed border last week, India’s defense minister said on Tuesday, in the latest violence along the disputed border since June 2020, when soldiers from both countries were killed in a deadly brawl.

Rajnath Singh, who addressed lawmakers in parliament, said Friday’s encounter in Tawang area in eastern Arunachal Pradesh state began when Chinese troops “encroached on the Indian Territory” and “unilaterally attempted to change the status quo” along the disputed border near the Yangtze. Singh said no Indian soldiers were seriously injured and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon after.

Singh said local military commanders met on Sunday to discuss the dispute and the Indian government spoke with China through diplomatic channels. There was no immediate comment from the Chinese side.

On Monday, an Indian Army statement said troops on both sides were lightly injured in Friday’s clash.

For decades, India and China have fiercely contested the Line of Actual Control, a loose demarcation that separates Chinese-held and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to the Indian state of Arunachal. Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a war over the border in 1962.

In recent years, soldiers from both sides have patrolled areas along the disputed border. Opposing soldiers often come into contact, and the two Asian giants have accused each other of sending troops into each other’s territory.

In June 2020, a clash in the Karakoram Mountains in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley sparked tensions after soldiers fought with rocks, fists and clubs. At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers died. The two countries have stationed tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border.

After multiple meetings between military commanders, some Indian and Chinese soldiers have withdrawn from a key sticking point in Ladakh, but tensions between the two Asian giants remain.

In November, Indian army chief Manoj Pande said there had been “no significant reduction” in the strength of Chinese troops in Ladakh. He said the situation at the border was “stable but unpredictable”.

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