New border clash between China and India in north Sikkim

New border clash between China and India in north Sikkim
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Military troops from China and India had another border clash in a disputed territory in North Sikkim, resulting in injuries.

Indian media have reported another border clash between military personnel from China and India, this time at Naku La in north Sikkim. According to the Indian army, there had been a “minor” incident that had been “resolved”.

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Latest border clash

The latest incident happened in Sikkim, an Indian state located between Bhutan and Nepal, and is around 2,500 kilometers east of the Ladakh area, where a previous clash occurred last year.

Media reports stated that Chinese patrol attempted to enter Indian territory and was forced to retreat. Some reports indicated that sticks and stones were used but no gunshots were heard from the site.

The Indian army issued a statement saying there “was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols”.

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According to a Times of India report, both sides called for reinforcements after a “brawl” but there was no gunfire and the situation was under control.

Speaking about the clash, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Chinese troops were “committed to upholding peace” and called on Indian troops to “refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border”.

Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of China’s state-affiliated Global Times wrote in a tweet that there was “no record of this clash in the patrol log of the Chinese side”.

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Previous encounter and tensions

Last June, at least 20 people died in the encounter between Indian patrol and Chinese forces on a narrow ridge at the India-China Himalayan border. During the confrontation, an Indian commanding officer was pushed and fell into the river gorge.

As a result, hundreds of troops from both sides were called in and inflicted damage on each other using clubs and stones. Several of those involved fell to their deaths.

While China refused to confirm the number of casualties from its side, the Indian Army said three of their soldiers were killed during the clash while another 17 died from injuries later.

China accused India of crossing the border twice and “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel”.

In September, the military troops of India alerted China regarding an alleged abduction of five civilians by the People’s Liberation Army near the Himalayan border.

According to India Minister of State for Minority Affairs Kiren Rijiju, the army has sent a “hotline message” to its counterparts in China over media reports that five civilians hunting near the Himalayan border were allegedly detained by Chinese military.

Rijiju is also a member of parliament for the north eastern border state of Arunachal Pradesh.

In late November, India announced that it was banning 43 additional apps, most of which are Chinese, drawing the ire of China and further increasing the tension between the two most populated nations in the world.

Among those included in the new ban were apps from China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, such as the AliExpress shopping platform, workplace messaging tool DingTalk and the Taobao Live streaming app.

In a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said: “This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.”

In response to the new ban, Ji Rong, spokesperson for China’s embassy in India, said: “We firmly oppose the Indian side’s repeated use of ‘national security’ as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background.”