Indian and Chinese soldiers patrolling Naku La clash, several injured

Indian and Chinese troops patrolling on either side clashed, leaving injuries on both sides, the Indian media has claimed.

The skirmish took place at Naku La in the north-eastern state of Sikkim last Wednesday. Sikkim is an Indian state sandwiched between Bhutan and Nepal.

Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory and was forced back, the officials said. Some reports said sticks and stones were used, but there were no gunshots.

An Indian army statement played down the incident, saying there “was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on 20 January 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols”.

Naku La area of North Sikkim (Image: Google Maps)

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian did not give details of the incident, but said China’s troops were “committed to upholding peace” and urged India to “refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border”.

The editor-in-chief of China’s state-affiliated Global Times tweeted there was “no record of this clash in the patrol log of the Chinese side”.

Relations between India and China have worsened in recent times. Both nations have stepped up infrastructure construction along  the 3,440km long border.

At least 20 Indian soldiers died in a skirmish in the Ladakh area last June. Since then, India banned more than 200 Chinese apps, citing cyber security concerns.

The two countries fought only one war, in 1962, when India suffered a heavy defeat.