Sikkim: Chinese and Indian troops ‘in new border clash’

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Chinese and Indian troops have reportedly clashed again in a border area, with injuries on both sides, Indian media reports say.

The incident took place in north Sikkim last Wednesday. India’s army said there had been a “minor” incident that had been “resolved”.

Tensions are high along the world’s longest disputed border. Both sides claim large areas of territory.

At least 20 Indian soldiers died in a skirmish in the Ladakh area last June.

What happened in the latest incident?

It happened at the Nathu La pass in north Sikkim, the media reports said. The Sikkim region is sandwiched between Bhutan and Nepal, about 2,500km (1,500 miles) east of the Ladakh area.

A Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory and was forced back, the officials said.

An Indian army statement played down the incident, saying there “was a minor face-off at Nathu La area of North Sikkim on 20 January 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols”.

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Flashpoints and dialogue

The latest reports about skirmishes show that tensions are still running high. The Indian army statement shows that both nations are still keen on keeping the dialogue route open and don’t want skirmishes to derail the process.

They have conducted several military-level talks to ease tensions but nothing concrete has come of them yet.

And troops are still facing each other at several flashpoints along their contested border.

Some former Indian officers say such skirmishes can’t be avoided when the situation is so fluid. But they agree that talks need to continue as both nations would not want a war – not even a limited one.

BBC

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