Indian and Chinese soldiers engage in hand-to-hand combat as border standoff flares up again

Mayank Aggarwal
·2-min read
<p>File image: Despite harsh winters, thousands  of Indian army troops are deployed in the Ladakh region</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

File image: Despite harsh winters, thousands of Indian army troops are deployed in the Ladakh region

(AFP via Getty Images)

Indian and Chinese soldiers have clashed in a new hand-to-hand brawl at high altitude on their mountainous shared border, army officials said on Monday.

The clash is the latest in a number of violent incidents since a standoff developed early in 2020, at least one of which led to significant loss of life. Local media reported that several were injured in the fight, with injuries suffered “on both sides”.

The latest brawl took place last week at Naku La in the northern Sikkim border area, and was described as “minor” and short-lived by the Indian army.

After the first Indian media reports, an army statement read: “It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols.

"Media is requested to refrain from overplaying or exaggerating reports which are factually incorrect,” the Indian army statement added, without providing further details.

Watch: China urges India to exercise restraint at border

Since May 2020, India and China have been engaged in a bitter standoff in Ladakh, their worst since a 1962 war. In June, 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers were killed during a clash in the Galwan Valley.

Several rounds of talks between military leaders tried to deescalate the situation yet, despite harsh winters in the region when temperatures can dip to minus 50 degrees Celsius, an estimated 50,000 troops remain deployed in the area along with artillery, tanks and fighter plane support.

In fact, in spite of the conditions Indian forces have reportedly increased patrolling recently amid concerns of a Chinese “incursion”.

The news of the latest clash at the border came at the end of the ninth round of high level talks on Sunday. They reached no formal agreement.

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