PLA fired shots in air, says Army

PLA fired shots in air, says Army

It says PLA troops attempted to close in on one of India’s forward positions

Hours after the Chinese Army claimed that Indian troops opened fire along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the Indian Army stated on Tuesday morning that it was actually Chinese troops that fired a few rounds in the air.

Following fresh tensions on the south bank of Pangong Tso (lake), Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the ground situation, a defence source said.

“In the instant case on September 7, it was the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops who attempted to close in with one of our forward positions along the LAC, and when dissuaded by our own troops, the PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate our troops,” an Army spokesperson said in a statement. “However, despite the grave provocation, own troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner”.

Chinese PLA troops armed with spears near Mukhpari area and North of Rezang La on the south bank of Pangong Tso on September 7.

Chinese PLA troops armed with spears near Mukhpari area and North of Rezang La on the south bank of Pangong Tso on September 7.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

No shots have been fired along the disputed boundary between India and China since 1975.

India was committed to disengagement and de-escalating the situation on the LAC, the spokesperson asserted. “China continues to undertake provocative activities to escalate. At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing.”

In a late night statement on Monday, the PLA accused the Indian Army of illegally crossing the LAC and entering the south bank of Pangong Tso and the Shenpao mountain area and “outrageously fired warning shots”.

Two official sources said Chinese troops attempted to come close to an Indian-held peak on the south bank near Mukhpari area between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday. Their attempt was to dislodge Indian troops from one of the dominating features, one of the sources said.

PLA’s aggressive manoeuvres

The PLA had been “blatantly” violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagements at the military, diplomatic and political levels were on, the Army spokesperson said, adding that the statement by the PLA Western Theatre Command was an attempt “to mislead their domestic and international audience.” 

“The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity; however, it is also determined to protect national integrity and sovereignty at all costs,” he noted.

Brigadier-level talks have been going on for de-escalation in the area but have made no progress.

Tensions have been running high on the south bank since September 29. In a pre-emptive move on the night of August 29 and 30, the Army occupied some unoccupied heights in the Chushul sector from Thakung to Rechin La within the Indian perception of the LAC, to foil the PLA’s attempts to dominate the heights. 

The Army had said PLA troops carried out aggressive moves on the night of August 29 to change the status quo and they were thwarted.

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