By K J M Varma
Beijing, Sept 12 (PTI) China on Thursday claimed that the Pangong Lake area in eastern Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese troops had a standoff, is "entirely located" in its territory and under its "effective jurisdiction".
According to Indian military sources in New Delhi, a scuffle broke out between India and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the Pangong Lake on Wednesday but the matter has been resolved through talks.
The incident took place after Indian soldiers patrolling the area did not heed to objection to their presence in the area by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops, the sources said on Thursday.
Two-thirds of the lake in eastern Ladakh is controlled by China.
Reacting to the incident, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a written reply to queries from the media here said that "the areas mentioned in the relevant reports are entirely located in China" and Beijing has been "exercising effective jurisdiction".
"The Chinese border troops have always strictly followed the relevant agreements and consensus between China and India, carried out regular patrol activities on Chinese territory," it said.
The statement expressed hope that "India and China would take no action to complicate the situation and ensure harmony and peace in the border areas of the two countries".
The standoff between the troops of the two countries in Ladakh is the first such incident after India revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
China has objected to the formation of Ladakh as union territory, saying that it undermined its territorial sovereignty. The statement evoked a sharp reaction from New Delhi, which asked Beijing to refrain from commenting on India's "internal affairs".
The Indian military sources said after Wednesday's scuffle, both sides called for reinforcements. However, the face-off ended following a delegation-level talks between the two sides.
Both sides disengaged fully after the delegation-level talks, the Indian Army sources said, adding that the incident took place due to differing perceptions of the Line of Control (LAC) between the two countries.
"There are established mechanism to resolve such incidents," said an official.
This is not the first time that a standoff has been reported between Indian and Chinese troops in the Pangong Lake area.
In August 2017, a major scuffle took place between the troops of both the sides. During that face-off, soldiers from the two countries scuffled and pelted stones.
After that incident, China had claimed that its troops were conducting normal patrol around the lake area.
The latest reports of tensions between the two countries came at a time when both the sides are preparing for a possible visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India next month for an informal summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Xi in Wuhan last April.
The first informal summit at Wuhan significantly improved the military ties between the two countries after the Doklam standoff.
India and China are currently in talks to hold the 22nd round of Special Representatives (SR) talks to resolve the border issue.
Chinese Foreign Ministry said earlier that dates are being worked out for the meeting to be held in New Delhi.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are the Special Representatives for the talks.
India and China have held 21 rounds of SR talks so far to resolve the boundary dispute. The India-China border dispute covers 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India contests it. PTI KJV SCY AKJ SCY