China and India accused each other of making provocative military movements near the disputed border in Ladakh despite the recent round of talks on ending the escalation. The Chinese forces claim that India, in violation of their agreement, fired warning shots at the Chinese border patrol. India acknowledged the warning shots, but said the shots were fired to repel the Chinese forces trying to surround a post in a “grave provocation.” No casualties were reported from both sides.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that the Indian forces were the first to shoot. China, he said, is trying to settle the dispute because confrontation won’t benefit both sides. “We, the Chinese side, has been stressing repeatedly that the two sides should peacefully settle our differences through dialogue and consultation. Confrontation will not benefit either side.”
The Indian Army spokesperson said that China continues to engage in “provocative activities to escalate” the tensions. He also denounced the corresponding Chinese statement an attempt to mislead the domestic and international audience. The spokesperson said that the Chinese troops attempted to surround the Indian military post, compelling the Indian forces to shot warning fires to repel them. The Indian forces, he said, “exercised great restraint” and avoided deadly, armed conflict. China is “blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive maneuver while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress.”
The two most populated countries in the world have been locked in a standoff since May in the disputed border region in Ladakh, India. In a full-fledged armed confrontation in June, Indian forces suffered at least 20 fatalities. The death toll on the Chinese side is unknown, but estimates range to at least a three dozen fatalities. The conflict lessened in the subsequent months but surfaced again when India accused the Peoples Liberation Army of China in engaging in “provocative movements” near the border.
Their defence ministers met in Moscow on Friday to negotiate the conflict, the first high-level diplomatic contact since the standoff began. Both countries’ military commanders also held several rounds of talks to mitigate the tensions. Despite the talks, the border tensions seem to rise, instead of to subsiding.