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India-China flag meet underway, Beijing says not aware of Ladakh scuffle

Indian troops from the ITBP said the confrontation turned violent in two spots where both sides came face to face. Six troopers suffered injuries.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2017 18:08 IST
Rajesh Ahuja and Sutirtho Patranobis
Rajesh Ahuja and Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Beijing
china india standoff doklam,ladakh,pangong lake
The scuffle took place around the Pangong Tso lake, part of which is a disputed territory.(Shutterstock)

Chinese and Indian officials were holding a flag meeting in Leh’s Chusul sector on Wednesday, a day after their Chinese soldiers crossed the de-facto border and exchanged blows with troopers in Ladakh, officials said.

On Tuesday, two groups of Chinese army men reportedly crossed the Line of Actual Control around the Pangong Tso lake before they were asked to turn back by the Indian border troopers, ITBP. The government in Beijing said it was not aware of the incident.

“The Chinese patrol refused to move when the Indian side first showed banners that they were in Indian territory, as per the settled drill. Heated arguments took place between the two sides leading to scuffle in which troops punched at each other and then finally stones were thrown. Stone pelting took place during both face-offs,” said an official in the security establishment, wishing to remain unidentified.

Indian troops involved in the incident said the Chinese patrol teams, consisting of around 15 personnel, started throwing stones first.

Around six men from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) suffered injuries.

Tuesday’s incident comes against the backdrop of a weeks-long stand-off between the militaries of the two country at Doklam, near Sikkim. The Doklam standoff is one of the most serious episodes between the two neighbours who share swathes of disputed territory.

“The Chinese side has sought a flag meeting in the area with the Indians to discuss matter,” the source said.

In Beijing, a Chinese official said she was not aware of the incident.

“I am not aware of the incident,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson said at regular ministry briefing on Wednesday when asked about the Ladakh incident.

She added that Chinese border troops were always “committed to maintain peace and tranquillity” along the Sino-India border.

“We always patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC. We urge the Indian side to abide by the LAC and relevant conventions,” she added.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 13:18 IST