Aasif Suhaf, Ladakh:
In a serious escalation that could further worsen the already tense situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian Army engaged in fresh clashes on Friday night.
There are reports of casualties among the PLA troops as they tried to evict the Indian Army from the Black Top and Helmet Top positions on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso.
the Chinese soldiers faced stiff resistance and the Indian Army foiled the
attempt to regain its lost positions.
Sources said that the PLA soldiers were seen carrying their men on stretchers back to their side of the LAC.
An additional three companies of the Indian Army were rushed to the strategically important positions.
Sources said that the Indian Army was anticipating an offensive from the PLA and was ready to counter the measures. The Indian Army had also laid barbed wires around their freshly acquired positions at the Black Top and Helmet Top.
The clashes have taken place despite the fact that the foreign ministries of China and India had agreed in a joint statement that their troops must quickly disengage from a months-long standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
There is no word yet from the Indian Army about the incident.
On August 30, the elite Special Frontier Force (SFF) had occupied the two strategically important peaks of Black Top and Helmet Top, south of the Pangong Lake along the LAC. The peaks were lost by India during the 1962 war. Since the August 30, the PLA was waiting to launch some action.
On Thursday night Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers' meeting in Moscow to diffuse the most serious situation 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 had said.
Separately, China's foreign ministry had said it would maintain communications with India through diplomatic and military channels and commit to "restoring peace and tranquillity" in the disputed border area.
However, the fresh clashes indicate that the top diplomatic meet at Moscow has not succeeded in bringing about a thaw in the tense situation along the LAC.