New Delhi, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- The Indian army confirmed Monday that there was a “minor face-off” last week between Indian and Chinese troops along the de facto border between the two countries in the northern Indian state of Sikkim without any casualties.
“We have received several queries regarding a face-off between Indian Army and PLA (People’s Liberation Army) troops in Sikkim sector. It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols,” the army said in a statement.
The clarification came after Indian news agency ANI reported, without revealing its sources, that there had been a “physical brawl” between Indian and Chinese troops in Sikkim last week, adding that “soldiers from both sides are injured.”
In its statement, the army asked media “to refrain from overplaying or exaggerating reports which are factually incorrect.”
The incident in Sikkim comes in the backdrop of the worst border clash between India and China in 45 years in June last year, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and 76 injured in the Galwan valley of the northern Ladakh sector of the border. The Chinese side did not reveal its casualties.
Both countries responded to the clash by sending more troops to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as the de-facto border is referred to, increasing the risk of fresh confrontations, although both New Delhi and Beijing have been trying to deescalate the situation through diplomatic means since then.
However, both sides have repeatedly accused each other of carrying out fresh military actions and violating territorial agreements even as the dialog continued with more than a dozen high-level military meetings so far, the latest on Sunday itself.
Increasing tensions with China played a role in India signing a satellite data-sharing agreement with the United States in October, which would allow New Delhi to achieve better precision for managing its missiles or drones.
However, the military alliance between the US and India against China goes beyond the land border, as the two countries are also trying to counter Beijing’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean, among countries such as Sri Lanka and Maldives. EFE-EPA