BEIJING (Reuters) - China laid the blame at India’s door on Monday for an altercation along their border in the western Himalayas involving soldiers from both of the Asian giants.
Both countries’ troops have been embroiled in an eight-week-long standoff on the Doklam plateau in another part of the remote Himalayan region near their disputed frontier.
Last week, a source in New Delhi, who had been briefed on the military situation on the border, said soldiers foiled a bid by a group of Chinese troops to enter Indian territory in Ladakh, near Pangong lake.
Some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and troops on both sides suffered minor injuries in the melee, the source said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that last Tuesday, Chinese border forces were carrying out “normal” patrols on the Chinese side of the actual line of control in the Pangong lake are.
“During this time they were obstructed by Indian border forces and the Indian side took fierce actions, colliding with the Chinese personnel and having contact with their bodies, injuring the Chinese border personnel,” Hua told a daily news briefing.
What India did went against the two countries’ consensus to keep the peace on the border and it endangered the situation there, she added.
“China is extremely dissatisfied with this” and had lodged solemn representations, Hua said.
India’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the incident in Ladakh took place but has not given any details.
Indian media have shown footage taken on a mobile phone purportedly of the scuffle, originally posted by a retired army officer, with stone throwing and shoving by soldiers of both countries.
The heighten tension on both ends of the border come ahead of a summit of the BRICS group of nations in the Chinese city of Xiamen in early September, with leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa due to attend.
China has repeatedly asked India to unilaterally withdraw from the Doklam area, or face the prospect of an escalation. Chinese state media have warned India of a fate worse than its crushing defeat in a brief border war in 1962.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Doug Busvine in NEW DELHI; Editing by Robert Birsel