Chinese and Indian Troops in Fresh Clashes Along Disputed Border
(Bloomberg) -- China and India said they agreed to push for an early disengagement of frontline troops, after soldiers clashed along their contested Himalayan border in the first outbreak of violence in the area in seven months.
The two countries said at a commander-level meeting held Sunday they would maintain dialogue and negotiations, according to a joint press release issued by China’s defense ministry on Monday night. China and India agreed to hold the next meeting at an early date to advance de-escalation, they said in the statement.
The statement did not mention the latest clash between troops.
Soldiers from both sides were injured in the fresh outbreak of violence along the border that runs through the northeastern state of Sikkim, ANI reported. The Indian Army confirmed in a statement there was was a “minor face-off” at the Nakula area of North Sikkim on Jan. 20 that was resolved by local commanders.
It’s the same area where violence between the two armies broke out on May 9.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday he had “no information to offer” on the reports of clashes.
“I would like to stress, though, that’s China’s border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquility along the border with India,” Zhao said. “We urge the Indian side to work in the same direction with us and refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border.”
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Communist Party-backed Global Times, called the reports “fake news” in a tweet, saying there was no record of the clash from the patrol log of the Chinese side. Hu’s tweets are closely watched after he accurately forecast previous moves by Beijing, even though his statements at times don’t reflect official policy.
Both sides moved thousands of soldiers, tanks, artillery to the disputed border after clashes in the Galwan valley in Ladakh last June that left at least 20 Indian soldiers and unknown number of Chinese troops dead.
India and China share a 3,488 kilometer (2,167 mile) disputed and unmarked boundary, known as the Line of Actual Control. The two nations held another round of Corps Commander-level talks on Sunday aimed at ending the standoff.
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