Soldiers of the Indian Army and Chinese PLA clashed today in a fierce gunbattle in the Naku La or Naku Pass of northern Sikkim. Men from both sides sustained minor injuries. The spot of conflict lies in the Sikkim sector along the Sino-Indian border.
About 150 soldiers from both the sides engaged in the gun battle, but the bone of contention was addressed soon. “Troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols. Such an incident occurred after a long time,” said a source.
Army sources said that such “temporary and short duration faceoffs” occurred as the boundary issue between China and India has not been resolved. “Troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols. This has occurred after a long time,” they said.
The skirmish has freshened the memory of the long Doklam face-off in 2017 in an area nearby. India and China were engaged in a 73-day standoff in Doklam after Chinese troops were found building a road from their territory to the Jhamphiri ridgeline.
Once again today, the dispute arose from the Chinese attempt to build a new road in the area, which is a mere 5 km away from the part of the Indian map, known as the “Chicken Neck”, that protrudes into Tibet.
India cannot afford to let China oversee Indian territories from such close quarters.
Indian capitulation amid Chinese hegemony
Following the Doklam or Doka La face-off, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan — in news since December 2019 for being the epicentre of the coronavirus disease outbreak that finally took the shape of a global pandemic — months after the Doklam standoff.
In the same year in August, Indian and Chinese soldiers threw stones at each other and exchanged blows near Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
The India-China border dispute is over a stretch of 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de facto border between the two countries.
China claims that the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh is part of southern Tibet and hence is part of the Chinese territory whereas India has long forfeited its diplomatic right to point out that even Tibet cannot belong to China. In fact, so servile is the Indian attitude that when a Chinese delegation visits India, the police here launch a clampdown on Tibetans in Indian exile so that Beijing does not get even a whiff of the anti-China activists.
The Indian capitulation before China becomes glaring in instances such as the one where a BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh, Tapir Gao, had reminded the parliament of Chinese incursion in his state, but MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, who happens to be from the same state, snubbed him and ignored the issue.
India and China officially assert that it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas, pending the final resolution of the boundary issue.