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* Border shootings in the western Himalayas increase tension
* The protocol on the prevention of firearms did not prevent the victims
* Indian army says Chinese troops fired in the air
* China says border guards took countermeasures after India threat
By Sanjeev Miglani and Yew Lun Tian
NEW DELHI / BEIJING, September 8 (Reuters) – India and China have accused each other of shooting into the air in a new clash on their border in the western Himalayas, in a further escalation of military tension between countries with nuclear weapons.
Hundreds of soldiers lie in close proximity to the eyeball along the remote border, which erupted in a clash in June that killed 20 Indian soldiers in melee.
The two sides observed a long-standing protocol to avoid the use of firearms at the sensitive and undefined border, although the deal did not prevent casualties.
On Monday evening, troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attempted to approach an advanced position of India at the Real Line of Control (LAC), or the postman’s border, in the Ladakh, the Indian army said in a statement. .
“And when they were deterred by their own (Indian troops), the PLA troops fired a few shots in the air in an attempt to intimidate their own troops,” the military said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the Indian side had acted with restraint.
“At no time has the Indian military transgressed across the LAC region or resorted to aggressive means, including shooting,” he said.
But China said the Indians crossed the informal border via the southern shore of Lake Pangong Tso, where tension has been mounting for more than a week.
“Indian troops brazenly threatened the patrolling Chinese border guards who came to negotiate with bullets, and the Chinese border guards were forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation,” said Zhang Shuili, a representative. from the PLA Western Theater Command.
Military commanders and diplomats have held several rounds of talks since July to reduce tensions, but have made little progress in reducing forces in the arid high altitude that both countries claim and see vital to their security.
The latest rise in tension around Alpine Lake Pangong began late last month when Indian forces mobilized to deter Chinese troops, whose movements suggested they were aiming to occupy a hill India considers its territory, Indian officials said. The nation urged the other to hold back the forward troops that have been locked in a confrontation since April, after India said China was deeply involved in its LAC camp.
Beijing denies the accusation.
“We call on the Indian side to immediately stop the dangerous actions … and to strictly investigate and punish the personnel who fired the shots to ensure that similar incidents do not occur,” said Zhang of the PLA in a statement regarding Monday’s incident.
India and China fought a border war in 1962 and continue to claim thousands of square kilometers of land stretching from the snowy deserts of Ladakh in the west to mountain forests in the east.