National

First time in 45 yrs, shots fired along LAC

NEW DELHI, SEP 10 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 9/10/2020 1:12:54 PM IST

The Indian Army said that Chinese troops fired into the air on September 7 to intimidate its soldiers holding dominating heights near a strategic mountain pass in eastern Ladakh, in a failed attempt to close in on a forward position controlled by India as bullets flew at the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) for the first time in 45 years.

Soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tried to advance on the Mukhpari peak near Rezang La on Monday evening but stopped in their tracks after a stern warning from the Indian Army, which occupied key heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso to prevent the PLA from grabbing Indian territory in a stealthy midnight move on August 29, officials familiar with the developments said on condition of anonymity.
The last recorded incident when bullets were fired at the LAC was in October 1975, when the PLA ambushed an Indian patrol in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tulung La sector and shot four soldiers dead.
The situation remains tense in the area with around 40 to 50 Chinese soldiers armed with automatic weapons, spears and machetes still holding positions below the Mukhpari peak, said one of the officials cited above.
“They are the same soldiers who fired the shots. Our positions are around 200 metres away. They have been in the area for the last two to three days. The PLA is intent on occupying high ground,” said a second official. Indian soldiers put up a “wire obstacle” near their positions in a warning to the PLA to not cross over, the officials said.
Reacting to a claim made by PLA’s Western Theatre Command on Monday night that accused India of crossing the disputed border and firing shots, the Indian Army said it neither violated the LAC nor fired bullets, and that the PLA was trying to mislead domestic audiences and the international community with its baseless allegations.
In a statement, Indian Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said Indian troops exercised “great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner” despite grave provocation by the PLA.
“It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress,” the statement said.

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