China claims Indian army crossed border and fired warning shots

By Sanjay Jha in New Delhi

China claims Indian forces crossed into its territory around their border and fired warning shots at a Chinese patrol in a move it called a “serious military provocation".

The two countries have been engaged in a tense standoff in the Ladakh region bordering Tibetan Autonomous region China.

“Chinese troops were forced to take counter measures to stabilise the situation,” a Chinese military spokesperson announced on Tuesday.

Countering their allegations, the Indian Army said in a statement it was Chinese troops who “were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC (Line of Actual Control)”, but when dissuaded had “fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate (Indian) troops”.

The statement added that “despite the grave provocation, (Indian) troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner”.

The two nuclear-armed Asian rivals have been engaged in a military standoff in the high altitude Himalayan mountain region since May with neither side refusing to budge.

Tensions have been mounting. Credit: AP

China’s western military command, under which this area falls, said the incursion occurred on Monday along the southern coast of Pangong 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.

After shots were fired, Chinese forces took “necessary measures to stabilise and control the situation,” the command said, in the statement citing spokesperson Zhang Shuili.

It demanded the Indian forces withdraw and investigate the move to open fire.

India said it is “committed to disengagement” and de-escalating the situation on the border, and blamed China for 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.”

Earlier in June, more than 20 Indian soldiers died in a night time clash which was the deadliest conflict in 45 years between two Asian giants.

The disputed and undemarcated 2,175-mile (3,500km) border between India and China, referred to as the Line of Actual Control, stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

According to China, the frontier is about 1,240-miles (2,000km) long.

China also claims the India border region of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.