Tensions between China and India simmered Tuesday, a day after multiple shots were fired along their disputed shared border along the Himalayas. It marks the first time shots have been fired in that area in nearly a half century.
Each side blamed the other for the Monday altercation though it’s still unclear who fired the initial volley.
“Indian troops again illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control [LAC] on Monday and outrageously fired warning shots on Chinese border patrol soldiers who were about to negotiate,” Senior Col. Zhang Shuili, a spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army [PLA], told Chinese state media outlet Global Times. “Chinese troops were forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation.”
Zhang said the area Indian troops crossed is along the south bank of Pangong Tso Lake.
“The Indian side’s move seriously violated related agreements reached by both sides, stirred up tensions in the region, and would easily cause misunderstandings and misjudgments, which is a serious military provocation and is very vile in nature,” Zhang said.
Zhang said Beijing and the PLA have since requested Indian troops be pulled out of the region to avoid further conflict. They also asked the Indian military to investigate the incident and punish any troops involved.
However, the Indian government denied this version of events, saying Chinese troops stationed in the area were the agitators.
“It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive maneuvers while engagement at the military, diplomatic and political level is in progress,” the Indian government said in a press release.
“In the instant case on 7 September 2020, it was the PLA troops who were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops. However, despite the grave provocation, own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner.”
“At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing.”
Tensions between the two Asian powers have been on the rise since May when India accused China of building up its military presence along their border. This boiled over in June when Indian and Chinese troops confronted each other in the Galwan Valley. While no shots were fired, troops engaged in hand-to-hand combat that ultimately killed 20 Indian troops and injured more on both sides.
In the aftermath, India began either banning or reviewing Chinese-owned apps on grounds of “security concerns.” The most notable app banned was TikTok, which is among the most popular social media apps in the world and is owned by Chinese multinational ByteDance.
By July, 106 apps were banned and 275 apps were under review.
Since then, government and military officials from both countries have met five times in an effort to resolve the border dispute. However, talks have not produced a resolution to the dispute and reports say there are concerns on both sides Monday’s incident will only intensify hostilities.