Indian, Chinese troops engage in brief face-off in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang

Military patrol parties of India and China stood face to face with each other for hours just north-east of Tawang in Arunchal Pradesh last week.

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Military patrol parties of India and China stood face to face with each other for hours just north-east of Tawang in Arunchal Pradesh last week.

The patrol parties had come face-to-face and both insisted that the other one retreat.

Sources said no one was detained; it was just that the patrol parties came face to face and stood their ground. To say one patrol party detained the other would be incorrect. The patrol of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China had 200 men.

The incident happened between Bum La – a 15,200-ft high pass – and the Yangtse, an Indian Border outpost that is 25 km east of Bum La.

Things are now back to normal, said sources.

Patrol parties come face to face dozens of times in a year as both sides undertake patrolling activities upto their line of perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The LAC is not demarcated on ground and both have overlapping claims. Whenever patrols of both sides physically meet, the situation is managed according to established protocols and mechanisms agreed by both sides.

One part of the protocol is unfurling a banner at each other asking the other to return. “Physical engagement at a spot can last for a few hours prior to disengaging,” a source said.

The India-China border has not been formally demarcated and hence there is a difference in perception of LAC between the countries. Peace and tranquillity in these areas of differing perceptions has been possible by adherence to existing agreements and protocols between the two countries.

The recent incident comes just days before the military commanders of both sides are set to meet for the 13th round of talks to disengage from eastern Ladakh.

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