Tension surrounding the standoff between China and India in Doklam — now entering its third month — appears to be spilling over, as soldiers from the two armies were involved in a skirmish on Tuesday at a different location along the border.
By: ANTIMEDIA Northern India — Tension surrounding the standoff between China and India in Doklam — now entering its third month — appears to be spilling over, as soldiers from the two armies were involved in a skirmish on Tuesday at a different location along the border. From Hindustan Times:
“Indian troops on Tuesday foiled two incursion bids by the Chinese in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region but not before stones were thrown and soldiers injured on both sides as India celebrated 70 years of Independence.
India Today, which obtained an assessment of the incident from India’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, wrote Wednesday that the confrontation may have been due to a chance encounter:
“According to Indian sources, the brief skirmish was sparked after a Chinese patrol lost its way due to bad weather conditions and came across Indian soldiers on the Pangong Lake’s northern bank near areas known as Finger Four and Finger Five.
“The situation descended into an ill-tempered skirmish that saw stone-pelting, resulting in injuries on both sides. The confrontation lasted around 30 minutes and was resolved after Indian and Chinese sides carried out banner drills and retreated to their respective positions.”
But the assessment notes that “troops coming face to face” at Pangong Lake is “not at all unusual” and that the “worst that has happened earlier is a one-off slap from either side or pushing as seen in recent videos.” The fact that this incident devolved into violence makes it unique.
Saying the skirmish could be a “deliberate attempt to provoke and heighten tension without use of lethal weapons,” the military intelligence assessment further states China’s “use of force appears to be part of [a] considered design” and only a piece of a “larger effort to fulfil [sic] veiled threats by Chinese govt to heighten tensions on other fronts.”
Considering the unease over the deadlock in Doklam, it isn’t difficult to infer which of the “other fronts” the military analysts are referring to.
A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said at a briefing Wednesday that China is unaware of the incident at Ladakh even though officials from both the Chinese and Indian armies had a border patrol meeting Wednesday in which “ways to maintain peace and tranquility along the Sino-India border in Ladakh were discussed at length,” according to The Indian Express.