Army says reports of fresh Indo-China clash 'false and baseless'
The Indian Army on Wednesday denied reports of a fresh clash with Chinese forces along the Indo-China border in eastern Ladakh. The Army said no attempts have been made by either side to break the status quo, as agreed in February this year. Tensions had heightened along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) following a clash between Indian and Chinese forces in May 2020.
In a statement, the Army denied reports of fresh escalations between India and China as "false and baseless." Negotiations between both countries are ongoing and both sides are patrolling on their respective areas along the LAC, the Army said. It said there have been no clashes in any area adding, "PLA activities, including turnover of troops, continue to be monitored by the Indian Army."
The statement came after the Business Standard reported that a fresh clash had erupted between the Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) on the Galwan river as the Chinese crossed the LAC at several places. The Army said the report is "riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation," accusing the reporter—the publication's Strategic Affairs Editor and retired Army Colonel Ajai Shukla—of having "malafide intention."
To recall, India and China have been locked in a military stand-off since May last year when their two forces had faced off near the Pangong Tso lake. China had opposed India's construction of a new observation point on the Indian side of the border. The infamous Galwan Valley clash followed in mid-June—which led to the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers—as bilateral talks failed.
Thus far, 11 rounds of military corps commander-level talks have been held between India and China to achieve complete disengagement in the region. Both countries agreed to disengage from the Pangong Tso lake area in February this year. However, bilateral talks have made little progress with China's refusal to withdraw troops from the remaining friction points.
Reportedly, China did not show flexibility during the 11th round of talks this April. Last month, at a virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination, both countries agreed to hold the next round of military talks at an advanced date.
Citing defense sources, ThePrint reported that China has not withdrawn its troops from Hot Springs, Gogra Post, and Depsang Plains. Troops have only been withdrawn from Pangong Tso. "There has been a gradual build-up of Chinese troops and equipment on their side of the LAC. India has also proportionately put in thousands of troops and deployed additional assets," a source said.
Recently, The Hindu reported that Chinese nationals along with PLA members had protested against the celebrations of the Dalai Lama's birthday in India. The Chinese reportedly displayed banners along with the Chinese flag from the other side of the Sindu river in Ladakh's Demchuk region.