India foiled a Chinese incursion near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, where around 200 troops of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had crossed over into Indian territory and tried to damage unoccupied defences, including bunkers of the Indian Army, a News18 report says.
The Indian Army had temporarily detained a few Chinese soldiers during the incursion, the report says, adding that the incident took place between the border passes of Bum La and Yangtse (25 km east of Bum La).
"The matter was subsequently resolved at the local military commanders' level. The Chinese soldiers were released and situation was defused," it quotes a source in the government as saying.
The development comes just weeks after dozens of Chinese soldiers transgressed over 5 km into Indian territory in Barahoti in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. The incident, which took place in August this year, lasted a few hours, after which Chinese soldiers left the area.
China lays claim to all of Arunachal as "south Tibet". It is particularly interested Tawang, the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama and hosts to the Galden Namgey Lhatse (also called Tawang Monastery), the second largest monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in the world and the largest outside Tibet. It was built on the wishes of the fifth Dalai Lama.
China fears the Dalai Lama may ordain his successor outside Tibet — within the Tibetan community in India, perhaps at Tawang.
Because of this fear, China insistently hammers its claim to Tawang. It has also gone back from its offer of concessions in the east, where it lays claims to Arunachal Pradesh, in exchange for India dropping its claim on Aksai Chin and parts of eastern Ladakh in the west.
Of late, Beijing has been demanding territorial concessions in Arunachal Pradesh. Dai Bingguo, who served as China's Special Representative on the boundary issue between 2003 and 2013, has suggested that the border dispute could be resolved if New Delhi accepts Beijing's claim over Tawang.
"If the Indian side takes care of China's concerns in the eastern sector of their border," Dai said in 2017, adding, "the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India's concerns elsewhere."
The incursion last week was not the first time a large number of Chinese troops transgressed into Indian territory close to Tawang. A transgression by over 200 Chinese troops was reported near Yangtse in 2016.
The Chinese incursion into Tawang comes when India is preparing for the 13th round of talks with China for disengagement of troops in the Hot Springs area of eastern Ladakh.
"We are hopeful to have the 13th round of talks very soon, perhaps as soon as next week — in the second week of October," Army Chief General M M Naravane said in eastern Ladakh earlier this month.
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