New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control or LAC in Ladakh have escalated further with reports of warning shots being fired for the first time in the last 45 years. Warning shots were fired near the bank of the Pangong Tso Lake where Indian troops have been posted to guard the area against Chinese attempts to cross the LAC. The Chinese state-affiliated newspaper Global Times claimed that the shots were fired from the Indian side. However, the Indian Army has rejected the Chinese allegations and said that the shots were fired by the Chinese troops and it exercised great restraint.

"While India is committed to disengagement & de-escalating situation on the LAC, China continues to undertake provocative activities to escalate. At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing," news agency ANI quoted the Indian Army as saying.

"In the instant case on 07 September, it was China's PLA troops who were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC & when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops," the Army said.

Earlier, the Global Times report said that Indian troops opened fire on the Chinese patrol party near Pangong Tso lake area eastern Ladakh. In a statement, Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command said that "the Chinese border guards were forced to take countermeasures to stabilise the situation on the ground."

He, however, didn't reveal the nature of "countermeasures" taken by the Chinese side. "These are serious military provocations.. of a very bad nature," the Chinese PLA spokesperson said, adding that "We request the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions".

The Chinese allegations have come ahead of an expected meeting between Union Minister of Foreign Affairs, S Jaishankar, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Russia later this week. The alleged firing incident has also come days after a bilateral meeting with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow last week.

During their meeting, Rajnath Singh had pushed for complete disengagement of Chinese troops at the earliest from all friction points in Ladakh and conveyed his Fenghe that the two sides should continue their discussions, including through diplomatic and military channels, to ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC at the earliest.

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma