More Than Warning, 'Intense' Firing Between India & China Led to 100-200 Shots Before Moscow Pact

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Two days before External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi reached an agreement in Moscow, heightened tensions along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh had led Indian and Chinese troops to open fire on the north bank of Pangong Tso. While the Indian troops had moved towards the western side of Finger 3, the Chinese army had moved to occupy the area between Finger 3 and 4. The step by both the countries led to firing of "100 to 200 shots" in the air as the troops came 300 metre close to each other.

A report by Indian Express quoted a top government officer, aware of the details, as saying: "100 to 200 shots were fired in the air by both sides on the ridgeline where Finger 3 and Finger 4 merge before moving north as one ridge."

"In the first week of September, there was a lot of movement" on both the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, the officer was quoted as saying, mentioning "multiple" incidents of firing in the region in the first week of September.

Top government sources told News18 that India and China exchanged fire twice at LAC. The first round of firing took place in Chushul sub-sector on September 7. These were said to be warning shots. The second round of firing occurred on September 8 at North Bank — "this was serious". At least 100 rounds were fired, sources said.

The IE report stated that till date, neither side has officially said anything about the firing on the north bank which took place after the Chushul incident, and was bigger in scale.

The situation, however, has since calmed down, the officer was quoted. "Now things have cooled down because of the talks between our Defence Minister and their Defence Minister and the Foreign Ministers. The focus has shifted towards dialogue," he said.

The two sides have agreed to hold another round of talks between the Corps Commanders though the date is still to be decided. The officer indicated that this time, the talks may include an official from the Ministry of External Affairs, the report stated.

The officer was further quoted as saying that before India occupied the heights along the LAC in the Chushul sub-sector, China was in a position of advantage, and at the discussions at the military and diplomatic levels, "they were trying to bargain for time" as "at that particular stage they were better off" and "they had no reason to negotiate".

On current positions on the Fingers on the north bank, the officer was quoted as saying that the Indian soldiers were above the Chinese deployment on Finger 4.

Chinese troops, he said, are "trying to go further up" but "we are in a slightly better position, there is a limit to how much you can keep jockeying" on that ridgeline, and that the Chinese would not be able to sustain themselves at a point higher on the ridge than where the Indian soldiers are.

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