(TibetanReview.net, Sep13’19) – A scuffle broke out at dawn on Sep 11 between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the 134-kilometre-long Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh over territorial claims but the matter was resolved later in the evening through delegation-level talks between the two sides, said Indian media reports Sep 11-12. The confrontation was stated to have continued till evening.
The incident was stated to have taken place after a contingent of a dozen Indian soldiers patrolling the area did not heed to objections to their presence in the area by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops.
Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh forms a natural boundary between India and Chinese ruled Tibet, with the latter controlling two-thirds of the lake.
India said its soldiers were on its territory when the Chinese raised their objections, with both the sides calling reinforcements rather than backing down.
In a written reply to queries from the media, the Chinese Foreign Ministry was reported to have stated that “the areas mentioned in the relevant reports are entirely located in China” and Beijing had been “exercising effective jurisdiction”.
The standoff between the troops of the two countries in Ladakh was the first such incident after India revoked the special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two centrally ruled union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. China objected to the formation of Ladakh as a union territory, saying that it undermined its territorial sovereignty as it included the cold plateau region of Aksai Chin which it had seized from India during its 1962 border aggression.
The incident also took place ahead of the visit next month of Chinese President Xi Jinping for a return informal summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The two sides disengaged fully after the delegation-level talks, Indian Army sources were cited as saying, adding that the incident took place due to differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries.
This was not the first incident of its kind on the same location. In Aug 2017, a major scuffle broke out between troops from the two sides in the lake area. Soldiers from the two countries scuffled and pelted stones during the scuffle.
India and China are currently in talks to hold the 22nd round of Special Representatives talks in New Delhi to resolve the border issue. The talks are being held between India’s National Security Advisor Mr Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi who are the Special Representatives for the purpose.
The border dispute covers 3,488-km-long LAC and China claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet.