Indo-China clash reported in Sikkim, both sides suffer injuries
Amid ongoing tensions between India and China, another clash between both armies was reported on Monday. A physical brawl was sparked last week when China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) tried to change the status quo in Sikkim's Naku La region. Confirming the incident, the Indian Army said a minor face-off took place on January 20, 2021 and was resolved by local commanders.
Context: China and India are locked in eye-to-eye conflict
China and India have been at loggerheads for nearly a year after the former opposed New Delhi's infrastructure push along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The situation worsened in mid-June when Chinese soldiers attacked the Indian side in Galwan Valley. 20 Indian soldiers were martyred and a comparable number of PLA soldiers also died. However, China refused to acknowledge its soldiers' deaths.
Four Indian soldiers injured in latest brawl
Though months have passed since the Galwan Valley clash, the tension along LAC is showing no signs of abating and the latest incident confirms just that. As per India Today, 20 Chinese soldiers were injured in the brawl whereas four Indian soldiers also suffered injuries. The situation is tense but is said to be under control.
Face-off resolved as per established protocols: Army
"It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols, (sic)" the Army's statement read.
Yesterday, military-level talks happened for the ninth time
Notably, just yesterday, the neighboring nations held the ninth round of military-level talks to defuse the tense situation along the LAC. The meeting at Chushul-Moldo Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) point on the Chinese side began around 10 am on Sunday and continued till late evening. It was on November 6 that both sides had met for the last time.
Military dialogue might not yield results; diplomatic efforts needed
About the latest round of talks, a person privy to the developments told HT that the situation hasn't changed since August-September when the Indian Army "took control of key heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso." "The military dialogue alone is unlikely to yield results. Diplomatic efforts will have to progress simultaneously," the official added. Another official also said that a solution seems far-fetched.
'Talks will continue to not break communication'
"Neither side is willing to vacate the positions held by them. It seems unlikely that the standoff will be resolved in the short term. However, talks will go on as it is important not to break communication," said another official.
Indian Army willing to hold ground in Ladakh: Army Chief
Earlier this month, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane asserted that though New Delhi is committed to resolving the situation along LAC with talks, no one should test India's patience. Sending a strong message to Beijing, he also said that the Indian Army is "determined to stand its ground" in Ladakh even if it means that diplomatic and military talks will be prolonged.