File photo of Pangong lake

No shots have been fired along the India-China border since 1975

China has accused Indian troops of violating a bilateral agreement and firing warning shots during a confrontation with Chinese personnel on the south bank of Pangong Lake in the Chushul sector on Monday, amid renewed tensions between the two countries.

While the Indian Army was yet to confirm the events as of Monday night, China’s military described Monday’s confrontation as “a serious military provocation”.

In a late-night statement released at 01.30 am Beijing time (11 pm IST), PLA Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson of the Western Theatre Command, said “on September 7, the Indian army illegally crossed the LAC and entered the south bank of Pangong Lake and the Shenpao mountain area in the western section of the Sino-Indian border.”

He accused Indian troops of “outrageously firing shots on Chinese border patrols soldiers who were about to negotiate,” the Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper reported.

No shots have been fired along the India-China border since 1975.

“The Indian side’s move seriously violated related agreements reached by both sides, stirred up tensions in the region, and would easily cause misunderstandings and misjudgments, which is a serious military provocation and is very vile in nature,” the statement said. “We demand the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous moves, withdraw personnel who crossed the LAC at once, strictly control frontline troops, seriously investigate and punish the personnel who fired the provocative shot and ensure similar incidents won’t take place again.”

It added that the “PLA Western Theatre Command troops will firmly fulfil duties and missions and resolutely safeguard national territorial sovereignty.”

The statement did not make clear what those measures were or whether Chinese troops also fired warning shots.

Both sides have observed a long-held protocol to avoid using firearms on the sensitive, high altitude frontier running through the western Himalayas, though this agreement has not prevented casualties.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand fighting in a clash in June, an incident that led to China and India deploying additional forces along the frontier.

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