NEW DELHI: China and India accused each other of firing shots first across the border, intensifying a months-long standoff between the two countries.
China said on Tuesday said its soldiers took “countermeasures” after Indian soldiers opened fire in a contested mountainous region in Ladakh.
According to China’s Defence Ministry, India was guilty of a “severe military provocation” on Monday after its soldiers crossed the Line of Actual Control in the western border region of Ladakh and “opened fire”.
Inedia was swift to give its own account accusing Chinese border forces of “blatantly violating agreements” and firing “a few rounds in the air” to intimidate their rivals.
“Despite the grave provocation, (our) own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner,” the Indian army said in a statement.
This is the first confirmed shooting across the contested frontier for decades where border forces by convention do not use guns to avoid escalations of violence in remote terrain. The relationship has plunged following a June clash in the region in which 20 Indian troops were killed.
A spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gave no specifics on the apparent retaliation and gave no report of casualties, calling on India to probe the incident.
Tens of thousands of troops from both sides have been deployed to the disputed Himalayan border. India’s military has also reportedly changed rules of engagement and allowed troops to carry guns.
Defence ministers from both countries met in Moscow last week but statements released later suggest reconciliation remains distant. Earlier this week, an Indian minister alleged th five men had been abducted by the Chinse army close to the disputed border.