On December 9, Indian and Chinese soldiers faced off in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which led to minor injuries. On December 13, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that the Indian Army resisted an attempt by China to change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and pushed back People’s Liberation Army soldiers engaged in the incursion attempt.
The clash took place at Yangste in Tawang. Reports said that several Indian soldiers were injured and some of them sustained fractured limbs and are currently recuperating at a hospital in Guwahati. This is the first clash between Indian troops and the People’s Liberation Army after June 15, 2020, Galwan Valley clash in Eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and several injured.
HAPPENINGS IN TAWANG
Rajnath Singh told Lok Sabha that PLA troops carried out an incursion across the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh, and attempted to unilaterally change the status quo.
“The Chinese attempt was contested by our troops in a firm and resolute manner. The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts. The scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides. I wish to share with this House that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side,” he said.
The Minister said that PLA soldiers went back to their locations due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders. “As a follow-up of the incident, local Commander in the area held a Flag Meeting with his counterpart on 11 December 2022 to discuss the issue in accordance with established mechanisms. The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquility along the border. The issue has also been taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” he said.
THE ACTUAL POSITION OF CLASH
Reports said that the actual clash took place at about 3 am on December 9 at a nullah along the LAC in the Tawang heights near a point called Yangtse in Eastern Tawang. Reports quoting military sources said that Indian and Chinese troops are positioned on either side of the nullah, but on this night, some 300 Chinese troops came into the Indian side.
In certain areas along the LAC in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh there are areas of differing perception, where both sides patrol the area up to their claim lines. This has been the trend since 2006.”
With snowfall in the area, this was also the time for some Indian troops to withdraw from their positions, giving the Chinese side a further tactical upper hand, the reports said. A heavy cloud cover also made it challenging for Indian satellites to capture images of any troop build-up.