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China, India border dispute flares up, ‘warning shots fired’

China said Indian forces on Monday crossed into territory it holds and fired warning shots at a Chinese patrol in what it called a violation of their agreements. India denied that and said Chinese soldiers tried to surround one of its forward posts in a “grave provocation” and also fired warning shots.

China described it as the first exchange of fire between the countries in 45 years.

India has rushed extra troops to the disputed Ladakh border region. (Getty)
The nuclear-armed rivals have been engaged in a tense standoff in the cold-desert Ladakh region since May, and their defence ministers met on Friday in Moscow in the first high-level direct contact between the sides since the standoff began.

China’s western military command said the incursion occurred Monday along the southern coast of Pangong Lake in an area known in China as Shenpaoshan and in India as Chushul. The two countries’ local military commanders have held several rounds of talks to defuse the tense standoff.

After shots were fired, Chinese forces took “necessary measures to stabilise and control the situation,” the command said in a statement citing spokesman Zhang Shuili. It demanded the Indian forces withdraw and investigate the move to open fire.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian repeated that Indian troop were the first to shoot. He said it was the first exchange of fire between the sides since 1975, despite the increasing tempo of recent clashes.

Front, from left: China’s Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, during talks about the border dispute. (AP)

“We, the Chinese side, has been been stressing repeatedly that the two sides should peacefully settle our differences through dialogue and consultation. Confrontation will not benefit either side,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

Colonel Aman Anand, an Indian army spokesman, said China continues “provocative activities to escalate” tensions and called the Chinese military statement an attempt to mislead domestic and international audiences.

Anand said the Chinese soldiers tried to surround an Indian military post and fired a few shots in the air when the Indian soldiers “dissuaded” them. He said Indian troops “exercised great restraint.”

He accused China’s military of “blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manouevres while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress.”

An Indian soldier mans a gun position during a recent army convoy. (Getty)

There was no word of casualties on either side.The disputed and undemarcated 3500km border between India and China, referred to as the Line of Actual Control, stretches from the Ladakh region in the west to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the east. China also claims all of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.

The Asia giants fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh and ended in an uneasy truce. They have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.

Source: 9News | News Colony

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