India and China have been involved in a long-time, ongoing border dispute.2 In the last few months, the two sides have come close to open warfare in the mountainous area west of the Ladakh region. Now an Indian lawmaker has accused the Chinese of kidnapping five civilians from the area.

Tapir Gao from the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh took to Twitter on Saturday with the accusations. India’s military has inquired to its Chinese counterparts about the issue. 

Zhao Lijian, a Foreign Ministry spokesman for China said that Beijing has “no details to release yet,” but added that “China’s position on the east section of the China-India boundary … is consistent and clear.” It also has “never recognized the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh,’ which was illegally established on Chinese territory.”

India and China share a 2,100 mile-long border in the Himalayas, where each side claims territory. The two countries disagree on the exact location of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border that emerged out of the bloody border war in 1962. There has never been any true peace as each side has tried to outmaneuver the other in the region.

In June, those simmering disputes came to a head in a dramatic and brutal confrontation. Chinese and Indian soldiers fought with fists, clubs, stones, and iron bars in a hand-to-hand fight where some soldiers were thrown off the mountainside. Indian troops suffered 20 dead with dozens more wounded. The Chinese didn’t release any casualty figures but they are thought similar. 

Last week, India said its soldiers twice stopped “provocative” movements by China’s military around Pangong Tso. Pangong Tso is a strategic lake that stretches from the Indian territory of Ladakh to Chinese-controlled Tibet, in the greater Kashmir region, where India, China, and Pakistan all claim territory. China’s Defense Ministry then accused Indian troops of crossing established lines of control and creating provocations along the border. Meetings were set up for military leaders to discuss the issues. 

Rajnath Singh, India’s Defense Minister, met his Chinese counterpart, General Wei Fenghe, in Moscow on Saturday during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting.

China is now accusing Indian troops of crossing the LAC and firing warning shots in the air at Chinese troops. However, Indian military sources told the BBC that it was China that crossed the LAC and its troops fired into the air. 

India released a statement which stated that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops (PLA) had tried to approach a forward Indian position and “fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate own troops.”

“At no stage has the Indian army transgressed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or resorted to use [sic] of any aggressive means, including firing.”

The above allegations made from each side are serious since countries signed in 1996 an agreement that prohibited the use of firearms and explosives in the LAC. This is why June’s brawl was of the Stone Age variety. 

Chinese Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, a spokesperson of the PLA, released a statement in the Chinese government-run news outlet Global Times. According to the statement Indian troops, “illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) into the Shenpao mountain region near the south bank of Pangong Tso Lake.”

He then demanded that the Indian military “immediately stop dangerous moves, withdraw personnel who crossed the LAC… and punish the personnel who fired the provocative shot.”

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