Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh confirmed that the clashes occurred in a recent address to lawmakers in the Indian Parliament. Singh noted that Friday's clash occurred in the Tawang district of the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese media outlets have also confirmed that the clash happened. (Related: China deploys KILLER ROBOTS to its contested border with India.)
The incident involved around 300 members of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and 600 members of the Indian Army. Indian media outlets claim at least six Indian soldiers suffered minor injuries. A statement from the Indian Army confirmed that several soldiers from both sides suffered minor injuries.
Singh said the clashes began when Chinese troops "encroached into Indian territory" and "unilaterally tried to change the status quo" along the disputed border region. He added that no Indian soldiers died or were seriously hurt, and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon after the outbreak of fighting.
Singh said he had met with local military commanders to discuss the incident, and India has reached out to China through diplomatic channels.
Chinese media outlets have confirmed that the clash happened. Col. Long Shaohua, a spokesperson for the PLA's Western Theater, claimed Chinese border guards organized a routine patrol on the Chinese side of the border but were "blocked by the Indian Army illegally crossing the line."
"We ask the Indian side to strictly control and restrain frontline troops, and work with China to maintain peace and tranquility on the border," said Long in a statement.
Despite the clashes, Indian Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Manoj Pande said the situation at the border was "stable but unpredictable." Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the situation along the border "is peaceful and stable overall."
India and China have been contesting their borders in the Western and Eastern Himalayas regions for decades. In the Eastern Himalayas, China claims almost the entirety of Arunachal Pradesh, a state with over 1.5 million Indian citizens.
The conflict remains unresolved, and China and India both lay claim over vast swathes of territory along their 2,100-mile-long de facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control.
Indian and Chinese diplomats have been attempting to resolve the dispute since at least the early 2000s, but two decades later the border remains undefined.
The last notable clash in the border was in 2020, when hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops engaged in hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in the Western Himalayas region. The soldiers fought with fists, clubs and stones due to a 1996 agreement prohibiting the use of guns and explosives near the border.
At least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops were killed in the fighting, making that clash the deadliest along the border in decades.
After multiple meetings between Chinese and Indian military commanders spanning months, both came to an agreement to pull back some Indian and Chinese soldiers from key friction points along the border, but tensions remain and the troop reductions were not very significant.
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Watch this clip from WION discussing a leaked report accusing China of encroaching along Nepal's border.