India and China troops clash on Arunachal Pradesh mountain border

Indian army trucks on road to Tawang, 2021

India says its forces have clashed with Chinese troops in a disputed area along the border, the first such flare-up in more than a year.

The nations had been working to de-escalate tensions since a major clash killed at least 24 troops in 2020.

But on Monday, the Indian army said there had been a clash in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh state last Friday, the eastern tip of India.

Both sides were involved with a few soldiers suffering minor injuries.

China is yet to comment on the stand off. But Reuters reported an Indian army source saying at least six Indian troops were injured.

“Both sides immediately disengaged from the area,” the Indian army said. It added that commanders from both sides had held a meeting immediately after “to restore peace and tranquility”.

China and India share a disputed 3,440km (2,100 mile) long de facto border – called the Line of Actual Control, or LAC – which is poorly demarcated. The presence of rivers, lakes and snowcaps means the line can shift. The soldiers on either side – representing two of the world’s largest armies – come face to face at many points.

Tensions sometimes escalate into skirmishes. However both sides have been trying to de-escalate since a major battle in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region much further to the west – where 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers died.

That battle, ought with sticks and clubs, not guns – was the first fatal confrontation between the two sides in the the area for 45 years.

Another face-off in January 2021 left troops on both sides injured. It took place along the border between China and India’s Sikkim state, which is sandwiched between Bhutan and Nepal.

In September both countries agreed to disengage from at a disputed area along a remote western Himalayan border area, with both sides beginning troop withdrawals.

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