After months of efforts to defuse tensions, soldiers rushed to shout in each others’ faces again. Though the confrontation wasn’t bloody, where it happened was significant.
Indian and Chinese troops have locked horns again along their disputed border, Indian officials said Monday, in a sign that the deadly tensions that erupted in June between the world’s two most populous countries are not going away.
In a terse and somewhat cryptic statement, India’s defense ministry said the Chinese Army had “violated the previous consensus” and “carried out provocative military movements” near Pangong Tso Lake, in the remote Ladakh region.
Indian Army officers and security analysts said Chinese troops landed a few days ago on the southern side of the lake, which traditionally has been considered Indian territory — a move the Indians saw as the latest example of Chinese aggression in a long string of provocations.
The move provoked a standoff and then a rapid buildup. Troops from both sides yelled at each other and surged to within a yard or two before commanding officers from both sides pulled them apart. No punches were thrown and no one was injured, the analysts said, and the incident was much less severe than the vicious hockey-brawl type of melee that exploded in June in roughly the same area, when 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed.
But China was emphatic that it had done nothing wrong. Chinese troops respect the border, known as the Line of Actual Control, said Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, and Chinese troops “never crossed the line.”