Yangtse faceoff | No fatalities or serious casualties on Indian side, Rajnath tells Parliament

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, on December 13, 2022

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, on December 13, 2022
| Photo Credit: PTI

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops tried to transgress the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Yangtse area of Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh and “unilaterally” change the status quo, which was contested by Indian troops in a “firm and resolute” manner and compelled them to return, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Parliament on Tuesday while stating that there were “no fatalities or serious casualties” on the Indian side.

Making a statement on the incident of December 09, Mr. Singh said, “The ensuing face off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into our territory and compelled them to return to their posts. The scuffle led to injuries to few personnel on both sides.” 

He added: “I wish to share with the House that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side.”

The Defence Minister further said that due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders, “PLA soldiers went back to their positions”. As a follow-up to the incident, the local commander in the area held a flag meeting with his counterpart on December 11 to discuss the issues in accordance with established mechanisms, said in the statement first made in the Lok Sabha and then in the Rajya Sabha. 

“The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. The issue was also taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” Mr. Singh added.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing that the “current border situation between China and India is generally stable” and “both sides have maintained unimpeded communication on border-related issues through diplomatic and military channels”. He did not provide further information on the specific incident.

High-level meeting

Earlier in the day, Mr. Singh chaired a high-level meeting, during which he was briefed by the Services on the incident as well as the overall situation along the LAC, according to defence sources.

In a short statement on the faceoff on Monday evening, the Army while noting that there are areas of differing perception in the area said that both sides immediately disengaged from the area after the scuffle. Yangtse has been an area of friction and seen faceoffs in the past including a major one around this time last year. 

As reported by The Hindu, the class occurred as a very large PLA patrol of around 600 soldiers tried to transgress the LAC in the area and some injured soldiers are currently being treated at a hospital in Guwahati. While the number of injured on the Chinese side wasn’t available, several defence sources said they were higher than that on the Indian side.

IAF closely monitoring situation along LAC in Arunachal Pradesh

The Indian Air Force is closely monitoring the situation along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, people familiar with the development said according to PTI.

They said the IAF has also stepped up its overall surveillance in the areas in view of the Chinese attempt of transgression on December 9, adding it follows standard operation procedures that included scrambling of fighter jets in case of specific security concerns.

“The situation is being monitored closely by both the IAF and the Army,” said one of the people cited above.

The people indicated that the IAF has increased the frequency of the sorties by its combat jets in the region.

(With inputs from PTI)

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