India’s push for tourism and infrastructure development near Yangtze along the Line of Actual Control in Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh may have riled the Chinese resulting in clashes at the sensitive point on December 9, government functionaries told News18 on Tuesday.
The Indian Army had on Monday said Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the LAC in Tawang sector on December 9 and the face-off resulted in “minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides”.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament on Tuesday said no Indian soldier died or suffered any serious injury. ?In this face-off, few soldiers on both sides suffered injuries. I would like to tell this House that none of our soldiers died or suffered any serious injury. Due to the timely intervention of Indian military commanders, PLA soldiers have retreated to their own locations,? he said in the Lok Sabha.
None of our soldiers seriously hurt or dead, #RajnathSingh tells #LokSabha on '#China trying to encroach, change status quo' in #Tawang@Arunima24 and @Zakka_Jacob shed light on thisJoin the broadcast with @ridhimb pic.twitter.com/FydK0ltW2x
? News18 (@CNNnews18) December 13, 2022
Sources told News18 that at least nine Indian soldiers were injured and an unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers are suffered injuries. This is the first such incident since the deadly Galwan Valley clashes in Ladakh between the two neighbours in June 2020.
Indian officials said China’s People?s Liberation Army could have attempted to seize the Yangtze post in the hopes that the Indian Army presence in the area would be thin at this time of the year when the area is snowbound. ?Till 2015, the Indian Army would patrol this area, but in the last few years we have started staying on at the post even in harsh winters. The Chinese probably didn’t expect such numbers on the Indian side,? a government functionary told News18.
The official said the Yangtze area has been a bone of contention between India and China since 2008, when the Chinese reportedly broke a Buddha statue there.
Located at 14,000 feet, Yangtze is a holy site for the locals. The Chumi Gyatse Falls, a collection of 108 waterfalls, is referred to as ‘Holy Waterfalls’ by the locals. The site associated with Guru Padmasambhava, the ‘Second Buddha’, is considered to be holy by Monpas (Tibetan Buddhists) in both Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet.
Intelligence inputs say China had put up surveillance cameras, projectors and large screens around the water falls.
Over the last two years, the Arunachal Pradesh government and the Indian Army have developed tourist infrastructure and road connectivity around the area. In July 2020, Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated a Gompa (prayer hall) in the area, which is around 250 meters from the contested LAC. On October 9, 2022, the CM tweeted a video of the natural beauty of the area, extolling tourists to visit.
The un-demarcated 3,800 km frontier between India and China has stayed largely peaceful since the 1962 war, before clashes two years ago sent relations nose-diving. In June 2020, Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, abutting the Tibetan plateau.
The incident had led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, while China suffered an undisclosed number of casualties. The two sides agreed to disengage from the disputed area along the Himalayan border in September this year.
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