Another clash, but without use of weapons, has been reported from the Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh , India’s northern centrally administered province bordering China’s Tibet autonomous region.
Military sources said the clash in Pangong took place “around the same time” as the one at Muguthang in Sikkim, indicating that the Chinese were trying to set up ante all along the 3448-kms disputed border.
The last clash at Muguthang took place on Saturday . Indian army press office confirmed 4 Indian soldiers and 7 Chinese were injured in the stone pelting and fisticuffs .
During the clash, one junior officer of Indian army punched a Chinese PLA major and flattened him , senior military officers in 33rd corps at Sikna covering Sikkim said.
The top brass back patted the young officer for his aggression but warned him ‘not to go too far ‘, reportedly promising him a commendation but moved him away to another rear location to avoid further escalation, they said..
Sources in India’s eastern army headquarters in Calcutta told Easternlink the young officer was from West Bengal and a third-generation military recruit, son of a former colonel who had faced the Chinese in Sumdoring Chu during ‘Ops Falcon’ in 1986 and grandson of an Indian Air Force officer.
The Chinese are in the habit of specific targeting and make an issue of hierarchy, unable to come to terms with ‘ a small Indian lieutenant hitting a big Chinese major’.
Indian army press office said the situation in both Ladakh and Sikkim were under control and have been sorted out through flag meetings, held with due COVID-time distancing guidelines.
But senior officers said the Indian army has rushed reinforcements to both the troubled spot and other sensitive points where claims and counter-claims often lead to face-offs.
The details of deployment cannot be discussed for reasons of national security, but one officer told Easternlink the deployment was sufficient to meet manpower requirements as such face-offs often necessitate big numbers.
But both India and China have ordered their forward troops to leave behind weapons in bunkers during patrols which turn more into ‘observation marches’ to keep an eye on the other side.
Wang Xiaofeng adds from Beijing :
A Chinese Weibo ID ‘Infantry Commander’ in his post on May 10 said that the Indian media quoting Indian Army sources reported that a face-off between Chinese and Indian soldiers, involving more than 150 persons, were occurred in the Sikkim border region on May 9, in which 7 Chinese and 5 Indians were injured.
Underlying these incidents is lack of effective confidence-building measures to manage standoffs despite many such near skirmishes in the past decade or so, Doklam in 2017 being the longest extending to 73 days.