As the Chinese People's Liberation Army is desperate to dislodge the Indian Army from the dominating heights, bullets were fired by Chinese troops at least three times in several locations in Eastern Ladakh in the last fortnight. Gunshots were fired in the air by both sides and this was seen as a major escalation of ongoing border tensions. The current confrontation with China has seen bullets flying at the LAC for the first time in 45 years and violations of all agreements and protocols between the two neighbours.
According to multiple sources, last week, Indian and Chinese troops fired several rounds in the air as warning shots close to Finger 4 area in north of Pangong Tso lake. The Chinese PLA had occupied most of the ridgelines between Finger 3 to Finger 4. It is learnt that the PLA tried to come close to Indian positions after Indian Army managed to occupy dominating heights at the super altitude of 19,000 ft above the Finger area of Pangong Tso.
First incident of gun firing happened on the intervening night of August 29-30 on the southern bank of Pangong Tso, when Indian Army pre-empted PLA's aggressive move. The PLA fired dozens of shots in the air to threaten Indian Army. In retaliation, the Indian Army fired in the air an equal number of shots.
The second incident of firing was at Mukhpari Heights, close to Rezang La in the first week of September. But the security establishment kept it quite and didn't reveal about this firing incident as Indian and Chinese foreign ministers’ talks were scheduled to be held on September 10 in Moscow on the sidelines of SCO Summit. A similar incident of exchange of gunfire took place on the southern bank of Pangong Tso.
According to the Indian military, after Galwan clash, the rules of engagement were changed as there won’t be any scuffles, pushing or jostling and troops are free to use firearms at their disposal. Fortunately, no incident of direct firing has taken place between the two sides till date, as gunshots were fired in the air as warning shots.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made it clear that the Indian military was ready to face any contingency.
At the meeting of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, both sides agreed to a five-point resolution to bring peace on the border. A meeting at level of corps commanders is the first step towards disengagement. But while the exact date of the next corps commanders talks in Ladakh is awaited, Indian formations are on highest alert all along the Line of Actual Control.