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Indian, Chinese soldiers clash at Naku La, many injured

Now Chinese soldiers enter Sikkim, clash with Indian troops (IANS)

Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Naku La in North Sikkim last week. The Indian Army said in a statement that there were many injuries but the situation is under control now.

The clash happened after Chinese soldiers were prevented from entering into Sikkim on January 20. The army said that the "minor face-off" was resolved through talks by the officers. 

The Indian Army issued a statement, saying: "We have received several queries regarding a face-off between Indian Army and PLA troops in the Sikkim sector. It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols."

In the Naku La clashes, 20 Chinese soldiers were reportedly injured while four Indian Army soldiers were injured. Indian troops, however, managed to push back the Chinese soldiers.

The clashes happened even as the governments and military officials of the two countries were readying for another the ninth round of talks to resolve the border dispute along the 3,488 km LAC.

Last year too, Chinese soldiers had attacked Indian troops in Naku La besides the clashes that had happened at Pangong Tso lake, Galwan Valley, Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh. The face-off in Ladakh continues despite nine rounds of military-level talks, where the two countries have built up unprecetended troop strength. The defence and the foreign ministers of the two countries also met face to face in Moscow last year to resolve the border impasse. 

On Sunday, India and China held a 16-hour long marathon military dialogue that ended at after 2 am on Monday. The talks were held at the Moldo Meeting point in Ladakh. LG PGK Menon, the Corps Commander of Leh-based HQ 14 Corps, led the Indian delegation. The ninth round of talks to de-escalate and diffuse the situation happened almost two months after the last dialogue.

India has sought complete disengagement and withdrawal of forces from the disputed areas to end the nine-month-long standoff at the LAC. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough as China insists on not vacating Indian territory that it occupied last year.

(With agency inputs)