Several Indian soldiers were injured in a clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Yangtse, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on December 9, multiple sources told The Hindu.
Confirming that the incident has occurred, a defence official with knowledge of the matter, without giving the specifics, said that the injuries on the “Chinese side were much higher than on the Indian side.”
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This is the first incident of its kind after the June 15, 2020 incident when 20 Indian soldiers were killed and several others were injured in violent clashes with the PLA troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
Several senior officials while confirming that the incident took place declined to comment on the specifics of the incident. There was no response from the Army to questions sent till the time of going to print.
According to another source, few soldiers sustained fractured limbs during the skirmish and are said to be recuperating at a hospital in Guwahati. Around 600 PLA soldiers were present when the clashes took place, the source said.
This is not the first time the area in Arunachal Pradesh has seen a face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops. Since the boundary is undefined, Indian and Chinese troops often face-off while patrolling the area. In October 2021, a similar incident had taken place when some Chinese soldiers of a large patrol team were detained for few hours by the Indian Army they engaged in a minor face-off and clashed near Yangtse.
In the last few years, the Army has significantly upgrading firepower and infrastructure along the LAC in the Tawang sector and a similar effort is underway in the Rest of Arunachal Pradesh (RALP). This includes road infrastructure, bridges, tunnels, habitat and other storage facilities, aviation facilities and upgradation of communications and surveillance especially in the Upper Dibang Valley region, as reported earlier.
As reported by The Hindu earlier, there has been a change in the pattern of PLA patrols, with large size patrols coming now to assert their claim while also testing India across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which defence officials had said was to prevent any surprise or getting overwhelmed by Indian troops in case there is a flare up as the Army and Into-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Before the 2020 standoff in Eastern Ladakh, Chinese bases have largely been much farther from the LAC.
Majority of the transgressions in the last few years are in the Western sector while there is an increasing trend of transgressions in the Eastern and Middle sectors, officials has stated earlier. The LAC is divided into Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.
In Eastern Ladakh, India and China are positioned in close proximity at multiple locations along the undefined LAC for more than two years. While several rounds of talks at diplomatic and military level have eased the standoff at few points turning the areas into no-patrolling zones, there are others where the build-up continues.