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Indian, Chinese troops suffer injuries in clash at disputed border

Indian and Chinese troops suffered minor injuries in a clash in the Tawang sector of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state on December 9, the Indian army has said, the first such incident since the deadly clash between the two neighbours in June 2020.

“Both sides immediately disengaged from the area,” the army said on Monday, adding that the incident was followed by its commander in the area holding a meeting with his Chinese counterpart to discuss the issue.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Tuesday that Indian troops prevented their Chinese counterparts from entering Indian territory on December 9, leading to a scuffle that led to injuries on both sides.

“There was hand-to-hand fighting between Chinese and Indian troops on Dec 9. Indian troops stopped PLA (People’s Liberation Army) troops from entering our territory,” he said.

China said the situation was “stable” on Tuesday on its border with India.

“As far as we understand, the China-India border situation is stable overall,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, adding the two sides “maintained unobstructed dialogue on the border issue through diplomatic and military channels.”

Arunachal Pradesh is located on India’s eastern tip and shares a border with China.

An Indian foreign ministry spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, while a defence spokesperson declined to comment on injuries sustained by Indian or Chinese soldiers during the skirmish.

Neither the Chinese foreign ministry nor its embassy in New Delhi responded to a request seeking comment.

The un-demarcated 3,800 km (2,360 mile) frontier between the Asian giants has stayed largely peaceful since a war in 1962, before the clashes two years ago sent relations nose-diving.

READ MORE: Indian, Chinese soldiers pull back from key border friction point

Deadly clash 

In June 2020, Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, abutting the Chinese-held Tibetan plateau.

The incident led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, while China suffered an undisclosed number of casualties. The two sides agreed to disengage from the disputed area along the Himalayan border in September this year. 

For long, troops on both sides have adhered to long-standing protocols to avoid the use of any firearms along the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control.

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