Troops of India and China were involved in two fierce face-offs in Eastern Ladakh and near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector along the contentious border between the two countries, official sources said on Sunday.
In the first incident, scores of Indian and Chinese army personnel clashed along northern bank of the Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh on the late evening of May 5 and the face-off ended next morning following a dialogue between the two sides, they said.
A number of soldiers on both the sides sustained minor injuries, the sources said, adding around 200 personnel were involved in the face-off. Both sides brought in additional troops following the fracas. It was the first case of troops from both sides exchanging blows after a similar incident had taken place around the Pangong Lake in August 2017.
There was no official reaction or details about the number of injuries on the Indian side. In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector of the Sino-India border in which at least 10 sustained injuries, the sources said.
The personnel exchanged punches, they said. “Temporary and short duration face-offs between border guarding troops do occur as boundaries are not resolved...Aggressive behaviour by the two sides resulted in minor injuries to troops," said an Army official.
"The two sides disengaged after dialogue and interaction at local level. Troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols," he said. The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it. Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas. Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, months after the Doklam standoff.
In the summit, the two leaders decided to issue "strategic guidance" to their militaries to strengthen communications so that they can build trust and understanding.
Modi and Xi held their second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai in October last year with a focus on further broadening bilateral ties.