India says air exercise not connected to border clash with China

NEW DELHI, Dec 15 (Reuters) - India's air force will hold an training exercise on Thursday and Friday in the country's east but it is not connected to last week's border scuffles with China in the region, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said.

India's defence minister said this week that Indian troops prevented Chinese soldiers from entering Indian territory on Dec. 9 during a border scuffle that led to injuries on both sides. China said Indian troops had illegally crossed a de-facto border to block a routine patrol of Chinese troops.

It was the first such clash between the Asian giants since 2020, when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed.

Indian media have reported that the IAF scrambled jets during the latest clash in the Himalayan region of Tawang, located in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is also claimed by China.

The IAF said on Thursday its Eastern Air Command would conduct an exercise to train its crew.

"This exercise was planned well in advance of the recent developments in Tawang and is not associated with these events," it said.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.