(Editor’s Note: Updated with an important historical perspective on the latest firing of shots in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4.)
By N. C. Bipindra
New Delhi: India today exposed China‘s bluff, calling their army’s claim of warning shots being fired by Indian soldiers along the de facto border in the South banks of Pongong lake in Ladakh as a complete lie. It was the Chinese who fired shots aggressively to provoke, it said.
With this firing of shots, China has broken a key peace record that it has had with India: of not firing a single bullet in the last 53 years of the border conflict since 1967.
The last time such an aggressive behaviour resulting in firing of shots happened between the two militaries was in the Sikkim sector.
On June 15, another record had also been broken. That was of not having had a single casualty in each other’s armed forces for 40 years since 1975.
“At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC (Line of Actual Control, the de facto border) or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing,” a statement from Indian Army’s spokesperson said.
“India, while is committed to disengagement and de-escalating the situation on the LAC, China continues to undertake provocative activities to escalate,” the spokesperson said, noting that it was the People’s Liberation Army that had been blatantly violating border peace agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres.
This, the PLA was doing, even while engagement at the military, diplomatic and political level is in progress, he said.
“In the instant case on 07 September 2020, it was the PLA troops who were attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops.”
However, despite the grave provocation, Indian troopers “exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner.”
The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility, however is also determined to protect national integrity and sovereignty at all costs, the spokesperson said, adding that the statement by the Chinese PLA Western Theatre Command is an attempt to mislead their domestic and international audience.
Late yesterday night, China’s state-owned propaganda platform Global Times had tweeted, quoting the the PLA Western Theatre Command spokesperson, that the Indian Army had cross the LAC and fired warning shots at the Chinese soldiers.