TAWANG: The officials familiar with the situation claimed on Friday that scores of Indian and Chinese soldiers were embroiled in a tense standoff along the contentious Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh’s sensitive Tawang area. The new incident occurs as both parties prepare to hold the next round of military talks to de-escalate tensions in the Ladakh sector.
According to one of the officials described above, the confrontation occurred when rival patrols came face to face in a contested territory near Yangtse, with the soldiers urging each other to retire to their respective sides.
A second official claimed, “The standoff lasted a few hours before the situation was handled at the level of local commanders.”
“Both sides conduct border patrols up to their perceptions of the border. When both sides’ patrols physically collide, the situation is handled using established protocols and methods. According to a mutual agreement, physical involvement can last for a few hours before disengaging. “This is standard procedure,” he explained.
The latest incident occurred just weeks after Chinese patrols of roughly 100 soldiers crossed the LAC in Uttarakhand’s central sector on August 30 and destroyed a footbridge before returning to the other side. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police patrol the area where the infiltration occurred.
“PLA intends to keep the entire border active to bolster its claims.” Former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General (retd) BS Jaswal observed, “It can also be an act of creeping boldness to later lay claim to these territories.”
Last week, Army Chief of Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane stated the next round of military discussions with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to de-escalate tensions along the LAC in eastern Ladakh could happen in the second week of October.
He claimed that the situation on the LAC was under control, and that unresolved issues with the PLA could be handled through negotiations.
For nearly 17 months, the two militaries have been trapped in a border impasse, and both sides are currently negotiating to ease tensions. As previously reported by HT, outstanding issues at Hot Springs, or Patrolling Point-15, one of the LAC’s friction areas, could be addressed during the 13th round of discussions.
Early in August, both sides pulled down their forward-deployed soldiers from Gogra, or Patrolling Point-17A, in the second phase of disengagement, with the breakthrough occurring after the 12th round of military discussions.
In mid-February, India and China completed the disengagement process in the Pangong Tso area, drawing back forward-deployed troops, tanks, infantry combat vehicles, and artillery weapons from crucial heights where hostile forces fired bullets at the LAC for the first time in 45 years last year.