The clash was the deadliest since April when nine suspected militants and three soldiers were killed in two separate incidents in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Three Indian soldiers and three suspected rebels were killed in fighting near the de facto Kashmir border with Pakistan, the army said Sunday, in the deadliest clash to hit the contested region in months.
The fighting began early Sunday after soldiers detected “suspicious” movements in the northern forested Machil area near a military fence that marks the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC), Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.
One Indian border guard and one suspected militant were killed in an initial exchange of gunfire, before more troops were “rushed to the area”, he said in a statement.
Two more soldiers and two more suspected rebels were later killed while two other injured troops were taken to hospital, Kalia added.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947 and there have been regular exchanges of gunfire and mortars across the LoC.
The flare-ups have increased since August last year when India’s Hindu-nationalist government revoked the restive region’s semi-autonomous status.
Tensions have remained high since then and there has also been growing anger over a measure allowing outsiders to buy land in the disputed territory.
Many Kashmiris have accused the government of seeking to water down the local population in India’s only Muslim-majority territory.
Last week, Islamabad said it would grant provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan — a mountainous territory bordering China and Afghanistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that India also claims — a move that angered New Delhi.
The nuclear rivals have fought two wars over Kashmir. Rebels groups have also waged an insurgency against Indian soldiers for more than three decades over their demands for independence or a merger of the entire territory with Pakistan.
The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people — mostly civilians.
New Delhi accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebel groups to launch attacks on Indian forces, a charge Islamabad denies.
In joint statement, Wang Yi and S Jaishankar say current situation in border areas not in the interest of either side.
The foreign ministries of China and India agreed in a joint statement on Friday that their troops must quickly disengage from a months-long standoff at their long-disputed Himalayan border.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar met on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers’ meeting in Moscow to try and end the dispute, the most serious in decades at the undemarcated border.
“The two Foreign Ministers agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” the statement said.
Separately, China’s foreign ministry said it would maintain communications with India through diplomatic and military channels and commit to “restoring peace and tranquillity” in the disputed border area.
Elaborating on the Moscow meeting, China said Wang had told Jaishankar that the “imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides”.
All personnel and equipment that have trespassed at the border must be moved and frontier troops on both sides “must quickly disengage” in order to de-escalate the situation, Wang added.
“This deal is significant but on the other hand I am still cautious. Let’s wait and see what transpires in the next few weeks and months. That will be the crucial test,” said Sumit Ganguly, a professor of political science at Indiana University in Bloomington, the United States.
This deal is significant but on the other hand I am still cautious. Let’s wait and see what transpires in the next few weeks and months. SUMIT GANGULY, A PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY
“I think both sides have considerable reasons to de-escalate,” he told Noble Reporters Media‘s known Media.
“In the case of India, the economy has cratered in the wake of the COVID crisis and the shambolic handling thereof. And consequently India can ill afford to devote significant resources to the military at this particular juncture,” he said.
“The Chinese did not want it to become a major distraction as their economy is finally recovering, and they are focused on the November elections in the US.”
Speaking on the five-point agreement between the two countries, Ganguly said they would probably involve withdrawing troops from eyeball-to-eyeball contact with one another.
“They would involve reducing certain kinds of actual deployment of artillery and other weaponry along particular band of territory.”
‘State of puffing’ The Global Times, a tabloid controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, took a more strident tone in an editorial published ahead of the two ministers’ meeting.
“The Chinese side must be fully prepared to take military action when diplomatic engagement fails, and its front-line troops must be able to respond to emergencies, and be ready to fight at any time,” the paper said.
It accused India of holding a grudge over the 1962 conflict, and described the country as in “an unprecedented state of puffing”.
Wang and Jaishanka’s meeting took place after a border clash earlier this week when each accused the other of firing in the air during a confrontation on their border in the western Himalayas, a violation of long-held protocols on the use of firearms on the sensitive frontier.
The Chinese ministry said the two countries reached a five-point consensus on reducing tension in the area including the need to abide by existing agreements to ensure peace.
Beijing accuses New Delhi of ‘severe military provocation’ but India denies its soldiers crossed the disputed border.
China and India have accused each other of firing shots on their flashpoint Himalayan border in a further escalation of military tension between the nuclear-armed Asian rivals.
The relationship between the two countries has deteriorated since a hand-to-hand combat clash in the Ladakh region on June 15 in which 20 Indian troops were killed.
Experts fear the latest incident will intensify a months-long standoff between the Asian giants that erupted in late April.
Beijing’s defence ministry accused India of “severe military provocation”, saying soldiers crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western border region on Monday and “opened fire to threaten the Chinese border defence patrol officers”.
“According to the Chinese side, Chinese troops approached the India side for negotiations, and then they say some Indian troops fired at the Chinese side,”
“As a result, China’s military said it was forced to take countermeasures – although we don’t know what those countermeasures were, or if there were any casualties,” she added.
India denies transgression New Delhi 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 Indian rivals.
“It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres,” the Indian army said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Despite the grave provocation, (our) own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner,” the statement said.
Reporting from New Delhi NRM said that, according to India, “China’s army was trying to close in on one of India’s positions – and that when they [China] were dissuaded by their own troops, they fired in the air”.
The countries fought a brief border war in 1962 but, officially, no shots have been fired in the area since 1975 when four Indian troops were killed in an ambush.
A spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gave no specifics and did not report casualties, calling on India to investigate the incident.
China’s western military command said the incursion occurred on Monday along the southern shore of Pangong Tso Lake in the area known in Chinese as Shenpaoshan. On the Indian side, the area is known as Chushul, where the two countries’ local military commanders have held several rounds of talks to defuse the tense standoff.
Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the Western Theater Command of the PLA, said India had violated agreements reached by the two countries and warned their actions could “easily cause misunderstandings and misjudgements”.
China’s foreign ministry said Indian troops had illegally crossed the LAC and had been the first to fire shots. “This is a serious military provocation,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
Late last month, India said its soldiers had thwarted the Chinese military’s moves “to change the status quo”, also on the southern shore of Pangong Lake, in violation of a consensus reached in past efforts to settle the standoff. In turn, China also accused Indian troops of crossing established lines of control.
Both sides have sent tens of thousands of troops to the disputed Himalayan border, which sits at an altitude of more than 4,000 metres (13,500 feet).
Their troops have had several showdowns since the June 15 clash. China has also acknowledged it has had casualties but not given figures.
Detailed border protocols in place for peaceful disengagement seem to have broken down since the June clash. India’s military has also reportedly changed its rules of engagement, allowing troops to carry guns.
Military commanders and diplomats have held several rounds of talks since July to reduce tension, but have made little progress to calm the border tensions.
Last week, defence ministers from the two countries spoke in Moscow on the sidelines of an international meeting – with both sides later releasing rival statements accusing each other of inflaming the showdown.
And earlier this week, an Indian minister said New Delhi had alerted China to allegations five men had been abducted by the PLA close to the disputed border in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh
A Tibetan-origin soldier with India’s special forces was killed in the latest border showdown with Chinese troops on their contested Himalayan border, a Tibetan representative said Tuesday.
The death is the first reported from two incidents in 48 hours on the border which has heightened tensions between the giant nations just two months after a battle that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
India and China, which fought a border war in 1962, have accused each other of seeking to cross their unofficial frontier in the Ladakh region in a bid to gain territory on Saturday night, and then again on Monday.
Neither side has announced any casualties but Namghyal Dolkar Lhagyari, a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that the Tibetan-origin soldier was “martyred during the clash” on Saturday night.
She said another member of the Special Frontier Force that reportedly includes many ethnic Tibetans who oppose China’s claim to their home region was wounded in the operation.
“Provocative military movements” The world’s two most populous countries have sent tens of thousands of troops to the region since a brutal June 15 battle fought with wooden clubs and fists.
India has said 20 troops were killed. China acknowledged casualties but did not give figures.
The two sides blamed each other for the latest incidents.
India’s defence ministry said Chinese troops “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” at the border on Saturday.
China’s People’s Liberation Army said that India was “seriously violating China’s territorial sovereignty” with its operation staged Monday and demanded that Indian troops withdraw.
India’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that China had caused the latest incident “even as ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation.”
Indian media reports, quoting military sources, said PLA forces tried to take hilltops traditionally claimed by India around Pangong Tso, a lake at 4,200 metres (13,500 feet) altitude.
India’s defence ministry said its troops “undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground.”
Newspaper (new to Noble Reporters Media) said that the SFF had been used to take heights that China considers its own. The Indian government does not comment on the special force’s operations.
Amid calls for boycotts of Chinese goods, India has stepped up economic pressure on China since the June battle and repeatedly warned that relations would suffer unless its troops pull back.
India has banned at least 49 Chinese owned-apps, including the TikTok video platform, frozen Chinese firms out of contracts and held up Chinese goods at customs posts.
High numbers of new coronavirus infections in the US and elsewhere could keep Asian exports depressed, analysts say.
Asian factories continued to shake off the coronavirus gloom in August as more bright signs in China raised hopes of a firmer recovery in global demand, data released on Tuesday showed, reducing pressure on policymakers to take bolder steps to avert a deeper recession.
Manufacturing activity in China expanded at the fastest clip in nearly 10 years in August, as factories ramped up output to meet rebounding demand, a private survey showed. New export orders rose for the first time this year.
The upbeat findings contrasted with an official survey on Monday, which showed China’s factory activity growing at a slightly slower pace in August.
But fears of a resurgence in infections in some economies may discourage firms from boosting capital expenditure and delay a sustained rebound for the Asian region, some analysts say.
“In most major economies, except for China, factories are still running well below pre-pandemic capacity levels,” said Ryutaro Kono, chief Japan economist at BNP Paribas.
“The recent recovery is largely due to pent-up demand after lockdown measures were lifted, which will dwindle ahead.”
China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.1 in August from July’s 52.8, marking the biggest rate of expansion since January 2011. Figures above 50 indicate growth in activity, while anything below that suggests a contraction.
Improving consumer demand in China also gave jobs a boost, resulting in the PMI employment sub-index contracting at a slower pace, HSBC said in a note sent to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).
“However, labour market pressures persist as the index remained in contractionary territory,” HSBC’s Greater China economist Erin Xin said in the note.
Japan and South Korea both saw factory output contract at the slowest pace in six months in August, reinforcing expectations the region’s export powerhouses have passed their worst from a collapse in demand after COVID-19 struck.
The spill-over to other parts of Asia, however, remains patchy. While manufacturing activity rose in Taiwan and Indonesia, it slid in the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
India’s factory output grew in August for the first time in five months as the easing of lockdown restrictions spurred demand. But analysts do not expect a quick turnaround in the economy, which contracted at its steepest pace on record last quarter.
Pandemic and politics The global economy is gradually emerging from the pandemic-led downturn thanks in part to aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus programmes.
But many analysts expect any recovery to be feeble as renewed waves of infections dent business activity and prevent many nations from fully re-opening their economies.
In Australia, the central bank on Tuesday unexpectedly expanded a programme to provide lenders with low-cost funding as the virus-hit economy braced for its worst contraction since the Great Depression.
Japan’s final au Jibun Bank Manufacturing PMI rose to a seasonally adjusted 47.2 in August from 45.2 in July, marking the slowest contraction since February.
The survey followed data on Monday showing factory output rose in July at the fastest pace on record, as automakers ramped up production after facing factory closures in past months.
South Korea’s PMI also rose to 48.5 in August from 46.9 in July, the highest reading since February, though it remained below the 50-mark threshold that separates growth from contraction for an eighth straight month.
While South Korea’s exports fell for a sixth straight month in August, the trade data – first to be reported among major exporting economies – signalled a gradual recovery in global demand.
“Exports will continue to recover during the second half and turn positive next year,” said Chun Kyu-yeon, economist at Hana Financial Investment. “Global demand are clearly showing recovery along with economic resumptions,” she added.
Some analysts warn against being too optimistic.
South Korea’s latest PMI findings did not fully reflect a recent resurgence in domestic coronavirus infections in mid- to late-August.
Japanese firms cut capital expenditure by the most in a decade in the second quarter, data showed on Tuesday, a sign the pandemic was sapping corporate appetite to spend.
Japan is also in the midst of a leadership change after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last week he will step down, raising uncertainty about the policy outlook.
“There is … a risk that the leadership transition could bring about a period of policy paralysis and uncertainty, should Japan experience a run of frequent changes in premierships, as occurred prior to 2012,” Fitch Ratings said in a research note.
India says it has foiled Chinese attempt to change the status quo on their disputed Ladakh border in a fresh flare-up.
China has carried out “provocative military movements” in the Himalayan border area disputed between the two countries overnight from Saturday to Sunday, according to an Indian army statement, in a fresh flare-up between the two nuclear-armed countries.
Indian troops pre-empted Chinese army’s activity on the Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh, part of which was transgressed by the Chinese soldiers in May, the statement said on Monday, adding that Indian troops took steps to thwart the Chinese attempt to “unilaterally change” facts on the ground.
“On the Night of 29/30 August 2020, PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo,” the Indian army said in a statement.
Army officials from the two sides are meeting to resolve the latest border dispute that comes more than two months after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in fighting that broke out between the two sides in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
“Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground,” it said.
The two Asian giants have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the border dispute that erupted in late April after Chinese troops transgressed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control – the de facto frontier between the two countries.
There was no immediate comment from China.
For months, troops have been locked in a face-off in the western Himalayas, where each side accuses the other of violating their nearly 3,500km-long (2,000 miles) border, most of which remains undemarcated.
The recent border tensions are the most serious in more than half a century.