By Ajay Banerjee, Tribune News Service
TROOPS of nuclear-armed India and China have clashed in eastern Ladakh and north Sikkim along the un-demarcated and disputed frontier between the two neighbours, leaving many injured on both sides.
Details are emerging of the ongoing development in eastern Ladakh, which is much bigger in scale and has wider ramifications than the clash in north Sikkim.
Sources say on the intervening night of May 5 and 6, a clash erupted at a spot called ‘Finger 5’ on the northern bank of the Pangong Tso (lake) in eastern Ladakh. It was one of the spots where pitched battles were fought during the 1962 war. In 2017, troops had hurled stones at each other near the spot. In the latest incident, troops on both sides received injuries, said a senior official without confirming either the nature of injuries or the number of those injured.
The Northern Army Commander visited the spot after being apprised of the skirmish. Sources said as a precautionary measure, forces had been substantially reinforced on both sides. However, they ruled out any escalation for now. It all started on April 27 when the troops came face to face. On the night of May 5 and 6, the Chinese troops clashed with Indian soldiers at an attitude of 14,000 feet. More than 250 men were involved in the fracas. A meeting of senior commanders was conducted, but matters flared up again today.
India and China have an un-demarcated 3,448-km boundary called the Line of Actual Control running all along the Himalayan ridgeline in an east-west alignment. The Pangong Tso, a 135-km glacial-melt lake that straddles both countries, has boat patrols from either side.
Eastern Ladakh has been militarily “tailored” to prevent a repeat of 1962 — when China, with exceptions like Rezang La, literally overran the Indian military defences.
In north Sikkim, a clash on Saturday led to injuries to troops, including four from the Indian side. The incident occurred in the ‘Naku La sector’ ahead of Muguthang.
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Top: The troops disengaged after dialogue at the local level. Photo: AFP file published by The Tribune
Map: The Tribune