Indian and Chinese Soldiers Again Trade Blows at Disputed Border

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“The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner,” Mr. Singh told the lawmakers.

India’s Army said in a statement on Monday that troops from each side had disengaged from the Line of Actual Control, which is patrolled by soldiers from both countries.

Though apparently quickly remediated, last week’s tussle showed that the border dispute was far from resolved, despite a pledge by each country in September to de-escalate, and a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Indonesia last month.

In a statement foreshadowing last week’s clash, India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said in Parliament that India’s relations with China were unlikely to return to normal without peace on the border.

Deependra Singh Hooda, a retired lieutenant general who led India’s Northern Command, which covers part of the border with China, said any physical fight between soldiers from the two countries should be viewed seriously, particularly amid a climate of mutual mistrust.

“In this case, the matter seems to have been resolved after a flag meeting, but such clashes have the potential to escalate into a larger local confrontation,” Mr. Hooda said, referring to the meeting of the field commanders on Sunday.

In recent years, the Chinese Army has constructed new roads in the area to connect with a network of military infrastructure that enables its troops to mobilize quickly, said Saurav Jha, editor in chief of the Delhi Defense Review.

“So it was only a matter of time before they started probing,” Mr. Jha said of Chinese soldiers.

Col. Long Shaohua, a Chinese Army spokesman, said troops had been conducting a routine patrol of their side of the disputed border when they were stopped by Indian soldiers attempting to cross the line.

“Our response was professional, standardized and powerful, and we have stabilized the situation on the ground,” he said. “At present, China and India have disengaged.”

Claire Fu contributed reporting from Seoul.


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