Tawang Face-Off: Tension Rises At Border After Indian & Chinese Troops Clash; Politicians Lash Out Over Security Concerns

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Tawang Face-Off: Tension Rises At Border After Indian & Chinese Troops Clash; Politicians Lash Out Over Security Concerns

At least six Indian soldiers were reported injured in the India-China clash that occurred in the Tawang sector. No firearms were fired during the incident, and the soldiers were charged with clubs and sticks, which resulted in injuries on both sides.

Indian and Chinese soldiers on December 9, locked in a tense face-off around the Yangtse area near Tawang, according to an official statement. The clash ended with minor injuries on both sides. Around six Indian soldiers were airlifted to the 151 base hospital in Guwahati's Basistha to be treated for their injuries.

This is the first violent clash between the troops after the June 15, 2020, Galwan Valley clash that claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and left many others injured. Earlier in 2021, troops of both countries had engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse, but local commanders dissolved the issue. With the Tawang face-off, many politicians and political experts have raised concerns over the border and security concerns that lay on a thin line.

Confrontation And Clashes

The clash along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh was provoked by the Chinese, who charged the Indian soldiers with spiked clubs and sticks. According to several media reports, the Chinese side was much higher than the numbers on the Indian side, but the Indian soldiers resolutely faced the soldiers from the other end.

The clash ended with both parties suffering 'minor injuries,' and the Indian soldiers were taken to a hospital in Guwahati to receive further treatment. According to the military statement, both sides had immediately disengaged from the area, and the Indian commander posted in the region held a flag meeting with his Chinese counterpart. They have discussed the issue and have restored peace along the border lines.

This, however, is not the first time both sides have clashed along the LAC, and tussles have emerged due to the undefined boundary. A report by India Today quoted a source saying, "In certain areas along the LAC in the Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh, there are areas of differing perception, wherein both sides patrol the area up to their claim lines. This has been the trend since 2006."

Politicians Hit Out At Ruling Party

Soon after reports of the clash made their way to the masses, the opposition lashed out at the BJP-led government and accused the government of suppressing the border issue, which enabled China to provoke yet another clash. Jairam Ramesh, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary of communications, said the ruling government chooses to remain silent to "protect its political image" despite the wake-up calls in the form of border issues. He tweeted that China's actions were completely unacceptable and that they had the audacity to attack Indian soldiers due to inaction from the Modi government.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also reacted to the incident and tweeted a thread that read, "Our jawans fought in a resolute manner, and some have been injured too. We are one with the nation on the issues of National Security and would not like to politicise it. But the Modi Govt should be honest.."

AICC Chairman Pawan Khera also joined in the criticisms and slammed the government by saying, "Whenever the opposition asked questions related to China in the Parliament, the government did not respond, citing national security." Adding on to it, he stated that the government can neither give a clean chit to China nor hide the facts from the country anymore as they deserve to know the truth.

Meanwhile, many other politicians conveyed their gratitude and prayers for the speedy recovery of the soldiers who fought with valour. Among them was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who tweeted, "I salute their valour and pray to God for their speedy recovery."

The issue would, without doubt, be brought up within the Parliament's next session, and several leaders are set to move adjournment notices in both Houses to discuss the issue. Congress member of Parliament, Manish Tewari, reflected on this and tweeted, "The clash is unfortunate…Chinese military posture and political disposition qua India especially after the 20th Congress of CCP warrants a full discussion in Parliament."

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi also backed this and stated that he would be moving for an adjournment motion on the issue in Parliament by December 13. Owaisi blamed the incident on the "weak political leadership" of the Prime Minister and nudged the government to respond to "What was the cause of the clash? Were shots fired, or was it like Galwan? Why can't the Parliament extend their public support to the soldiers to send a strong message to China?"

A Border That Remains Indefinite

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy was among those who condemned the incident and pressed for action against the provocation. He demanded that India shut down all Chinese companies and inform Indians in China to return. The BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh, Tapir Gao, commented that such repeated "border incidents" along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) would hamper relations between the two countries and that the two governments must work together to resolve the problems.

The Military stated that the differing perception of the line of actual control since 2006 is the root of such clashes. In June 2020, the Indian and Chinese soldiers engaged in violent combat in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, abutting the Chinese-held Tibetan plateau. Since then, the ties between both countries plummeted significantly and marked tense relations in the coming years.

Also Read: Galwan Clash: A Year On, An Uneasy Calm Prevails At LAC

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Writer : Laxmi Mohan Kumar
Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
Creatives : Laxmi Mohan Kumar

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