India, China face off along Sikkim border

India, China face off along Sikkim border

Scores of Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off along the India-China boundary in north Sikkim on Saturday, two senior officials said on the condition of anonymity.

The aggressive confrontation between the troops from the two sides happened near the Naku La sector (ahead of Muguthang), a pass at a height of more than 5,000 metres, said the first officer cited above.

Several soldiers were injured in the border stand-off as they exchanged blows.

“Four Indian soldiers and seven Chinese troops suffered injuries during the confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers,” said the second officer cited above.

He said the face-off was resolved at the local level.

Two officials Hindustan Times spoke to in the Army Headquarters denied knowledge of the face-off.

The Naku La area was traditionally not prone to face-offs, a former top commander said.

This is not the first time Indian and Chinese soldiers have exchanged blows along the border. In August 2017, Indian and Chinese soldiers threw stones at each other and also exchanged blows near Pangong Lake in Ladakh, close to the de facto border between the two countries.

The clash near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) aggravated bilateral tensions as it happened at a time when the two neighbours were locked in a long stand-off in the disputed Doklam plateau close to Sikkim.

The 73-day Doklam stand-off between India and China along the Sikkim border was likely to be the new normal, the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS) said in 2017, making a strong case for building military capabilities. The stand-off ended with the withdrawal of troops by both armies.

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