NEW DELHI: After the latest flare-up in the Pangong southern bank area, India Tuesday lodged a strong protest with China, both through diplomatic and military channels, asking Beijing to rein in Chinese troops who had carried out “provocative activities” yet again on Monday night.

In its protest, India strongly denied that any Indian soldier fired “warning shots” or crossed the LAC as alleged by China.

The government said that while it remained committed to talks for disengagement and de-escalation along the border, it will do all it can to protect India’s sovereignty. It also said that the PLA had on Monday, by seeking to intimidate Indian troops by firing in air, violated all agreements and understandings reached in the military and diplomatic meetings.

China had sought to seize the narrative by claiming first in a PLA statement, issued close to 2 am (Beijing time) that Indian troops fired shots at LAC. While the Indian army strongly denied this in a statement Tuesday morning, and accused the Chinese of opening fire, the Chinese foreign ministry said in response Indian troops had fired first. Spokesperson Zhao Lijian didn’t deny that Chinese troops had fired a few rounds in air as stated by the Indian army.

Beijing said it had lodged “solemn representations” with India asking it to withdraw troops who, it alleged, had crossed LAC.

“I also want to emphasize that in this incident, the Indian side first shot threats (fired shots) at the patrol personnel of the Chinese border guards. This was the first time since 1975 that the peace on the border between the two countries was interrupted by gunfire. China has repeatedly emphasized that the two sides should resolve their differences through peaceful means and through consultation and dialogue. Confrontation is not good for both parties,” said spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

The Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times too accused India of “crossing the line” by opening fire. In another development, India Tuesday slammed the Chinese state media for quoting NSA

Ajit Doval

as saying that Indian army was ready for a long-drawn standoff with China.

“We have seen reports in Chinese state media, including in China Daily and Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times), which had attributed some comments to NSA Ajit Doval. These reports are completely false and are not based in facts. We urge the media to refrain from such speculative reporting,” said the government in a statement.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson repeated the PLA’s claim that India’s actions were “serious military provocations and of very bad nature”.

“We request the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions, immediately withdraw cross-line personnel, strictly restrain front-line troops, and strictly investigate and punish personnel who fired shots to ensure that similar incidents do not occur again. Theater troops will resolutely perform their duties and missions and resolutely defend national territorial sovereignty,” said the official.

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