A Chinese soldier stands guard on the Chinese side of the Naku La border crossing between India and China.(AFP File)
A Chinese soldier stands guard on the Chinese side of the Naku La border crossing between India and China.(AFP File)

Troops come to blows in India-China face-off

  • The latest incident took place at Naku La area, which is at a height of over 5,000 metres, on January 20, when Chinese soldiers attempted to intrude into the Indian territory.
By Rahul Singh, Rezaul H Laskar, Sutirtho Patranobis
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 05:22 AM IST

Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a brawl in north Sikkim last week, with soldiers from both armies suffering injuries in a clash that has turned the spotlight on the eastern sector even as rival soldiers are deployed eyeball to eyeball in Ladakh, officials familiar with the development said on Monday.

The latest incident took place at Naku La area, which is at a height of over 5,000 metres, on January 20, when Chinese soldiers attempted to intrude into the Indian territory, the officials cited above said, requesting anonymity. They added that the soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were pushed back.


“It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on January 20 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols,” the army said in a brief statement.

The Naku La area has traditionally not been prone to face-offs, and the developments reflected China’s aggressive behaviour in the eastern sector, the officials said.

Experts pointed to attempts by Beijing to open a new front amid the stalemate in the Ladakh sector, where tensions first erupted in May 2020. The two sides are holding diplomatic and military dialogues to defuse tensions there.

“I thought the use of the word ‘minor’ was best avoided. A clash is a clash. Just as we were awaiting the outcome of the ninth round of talks between military com mmanders, reports of an intrusion into Naku La represents an attitude that is anything but minor,” former ambassador Vishnu Prakash said.

The Chinese side neither confirmed nor denied the incident. “On the specific [incident] you mentioned, I don’t have any information to offer. I would like to stress though the Chinese border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquility along the border with India,” Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, told the press in Beijing at a regular briefing.

He urged the “Indian side to work in the same direction” and “refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border”.

The news of the Naku La clash came hours before a joint statement by the two nuclear-armed neighbours, who agreed to a push for “early disengagement” of their frontline troops during the ninth round of military talks on Sunday. The talks went on for 16 hours.

“They [the two sides] also agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, maintain the good momentum of dialogue and negotiation, and hold the 10th round of the corps commander-level meeting at an early date to jointly advance de-escalation,” the joint statement said.

The ongoing border tensions reached new heights in the aftermath of a clash in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15 — the first deadly conflict between soldiers of the two sides along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 45 years. The clash resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer, and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers.

The Naku La episode is the second such incident in the eastern sector in less than a year. Four Indian soldiers and seven Chinese troops suffered injuries during a May 9, 2020, confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers.

Rival soldiers have so far clashed at least five times since the India-China border row erupted last year in the Ladakh sector. The situation there remains tense and the ongoing military and diplomatic dialogues have yet to make any positive impact.

On January 12, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said the Indian Army was prepared to hold its ground in eastern Ladakh “as long as it takes” to achieve national objectives in case the military and diplomatic talks with China were prolonged.

While the LAC in eastern Ladakh has been at the centre of the current border tensions, Indian forces are in a heightened state of alert all along the border with China, stretching from Himachal Pradesh to Uttarakhand to Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh.

In his address to the nation on the eve of India’s 72nd Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said while the country was committed to peace, its forces were “adequately mobilised” to thwart any attempt to undermine national security. “Our national interest will be protected at all costs,” he said.

A senior journalist of the Chinese official media said there was no record of last week’s clash in the PLA’s patrol log, an unusual remark given the secrecy surrounding the Chinese army.

“This is fake news. Based on what I learned, there is no record of this clash in the patrol log of the Chinese side. Small frictions often occur on China-India border area, but clash that caused multiple injuries will definitely be recorded and reported,” Hu Xijin, the high-profile editor of nationalistic Global Times tabloid, tweeted.

But experts said the Naku La incident appears to be part of a larger effort to both test India’s defences and open a new front in the face of the stalemate in the Ladakh sector, where tens of thousands of troops have dug in for the harsh winter.

“There is nothing the Chinese can now do in Ladakh which they can portray to their advantage,” Sameer Patil, fellow for international security studies at Gateway House, said. “Unlike previous standoffs, where the Chinese stepped back after intruding, there has been a fundamental change in the attitude of the Chinese. They aren’t stepping back this time after they were repelled and faced resistance.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close
Union minister Smriti Irani addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Union minister Smriti Irani addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)

‘Women are not pleading, they are leading’: Smriti Irani

By Vinod Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:53 AM IST
  • Smriti Irani says, "I’m the only female politician who’s also recognised by her former vocation. I recognise the bias in that."
Close
Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that the second half of the session, which starts on Monday, may run for just two weeks.(PTI)
Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that the second half of the session, which starts on Monday, may run for just two weeks.(PTI)

2nd half of Budget session may be cut short due to state polls

By Saubhadra Chatterji, Sunetra Choudhury, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:40 AM IST
  • An official said that both Houses could meet at 11 am from the second week following the vaccination of eligible MPs.
Close
Bodies of the man and his son were found in the house while the bodies of the three woman were found near the house, the official added.
Bodies of the man and his son were found in the house while the bodies of the three woman were found near the house, the official added.

Five of family found dead in Chhattisgarh

By Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times, Raipur
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:27 AM IST
  • A suicide note found at the spot said they took the decision because of acute financial distress, an official said.
Close
Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.(REUTERS)
Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.(REUTERS)

Govt plan to take over mine auctions faces opposition from a few states

By Chetan Chauhan, Gerard de Souza, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Goa
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:21 AM IST
  • The changes have been opposed by some states who see it as another attempt by the Centre to take over mining auctions and impose central rules on a state domain.
Close
India must rapidly build and nurture grassroots-based habitat monitoring and governance.(Representational Photo/HT File)
India must rapidly build and nurture grassroots-based habitat monitoring and governance.(Representational Photo/HT File)

India must strive to catch the ecological bus

By Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:16 AM IST
  • A re-invigorated biodiversity management policy is India’s survival strategy. At this point in our development trajectory, we don’t pay any heed to either biodiversity or landscape conservation.
Close
Satellite image of NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System of forest fires.(Courtesy- NASA)
Satellite image of NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System of forest fires.(Courtesy- NASA)

Early summer, lack of rain spark fires

By Jayashree Nandi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:10 AM IST
  • According to Forest Survey of India’s forest fire alert system, there were 2,317 fire points last year between February 26 and March 7, but the figure rose to 53,211 this time after data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) was taken into account.
Close
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain in a Tamil Nadu village(Representative Image )
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain in a Tamil Nadu village(Representative Image )

Woman, 32, mother of two rappels down 155-feet mountain blindfolded in 58 sec

ANI, Kancheepuram
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:54 PM IST
The record was entered in the UNICO Book of World Records and was certified by an official adjudicator R. Sivaraman.
Close
The incident took place in Transit Camp Colony of Rudrapur on February 19, 2019, when the boy went missing, Gupta said.(HT file photo)
The incident took place in Transit Camp Colony of Rudrapur on February 19, 2019, when the boy went missing, Gupta said.(HT file photo)

24-yr-old man gets death for rape, murder of 5-yr-old boy

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Rudrapur
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:56 AM IST
Special Pocso judge Vijay Laxmi Vihan also awarded four years of imprisonment to the father of the accused and three years to his mother for concealing the crime, Vikas Gupta, special assistant district government counsel, said.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Every breach of promise to marry doesn’t mean rape: SC

PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:10 PM IST
New Delhi A charge of rape is not applicable in every case where a man does not marry his girlfriend after a promise, the Supreme Court has held
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Rights and wrongs of the LAC conflict clear: China

By Sutirtho Patranobis
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:09 PM IST
Beijing China said on Sunday that New Delhi and Beijing should not undercut or be suspicious of each other, but added that the rights and wrongs of what happened at the Line of Actual Control last year were clear, appearing to again put the blame on India for the worst military standoff between the two countries in decades
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Women are not pleading, they’re leading: Smriti Irani

By Vinod Sharma
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:57 PM IST
New Delhi: On the eve of the International Women’s Day, union minister for women and child development Smriti Irani spoke to HT on the challenges and opportunities the women have in the country, her role as a minister and the BJP’s battle axe against the Congress
Close
"The state government is taking a series of measures to take women on the path of development and progress," K Chandrasekhar Rao said. (HT File photo)
"The state government is taking a series of measures to take women on the path of development and progress," K Chandrasekhar Rao said. (HT File photo)

Telangana government declares holiday for women employees on Women's Day

ANI, Hyderabad, Telangana
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:55 PM IST
"Women are competing with men in all the fields and are excelling. Women, who constitute 50 per cent of the population, would do wonders if they were given a chance," Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said.
Close
Mohammed Muthu Meeran Maraickayar died on Sunday(ANI Photo )
Mohammed Muthu Meeran Maraickayar died on Sunday(ANI Photo )

APJ Abdul Kalam's brother Mohammed Muthu Meeran passes way at 104

PTI, Rameswaram
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:48 PM IST
Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam conveyed condolences over Mohammed Muthu Meeran's demise.
Close
Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander Shaliza Dhami(ANI Photo )
Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander Shaliza Dhami(ANI Photo )

Aircraft doesn't know if man or woman officer is flying it: IAF’s Shaliza Dhami

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:35 PM IST
During the Budget Session in Parliament last month, the government informed that the headcount of women in the military has increased almost three-fold over the last six years.
Close
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait addresses during the ongoing farmer protest against the new farm laws, in New Delhi on Sunday.(ANI Photo)
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait addresses during the ongoing farmer protest against the new farm laws, in New Delhi on Sunday.(ANI Photo)

Will hold meeting with Kolkata farmers on March 13: Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:22 PM IST
When asked about the stalemate between farmers and the Centre even after more than 100 days, Tikait said that the government, sooner or later, will have to pay heed to farmers' issues.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP