New Delhi: Tensions between India and China have now boiled over to social media, with handles from both sides engaging in a war of videos and photographs, even as reports indicating multiple clashes on the banks of the Pangong Lake emerge. Earlier, it was assumed that the two sides were involved in a physical altercation only on 5 May.
Social media handles from both China and India Sunday began circulating visuals of soldiers being assaulted from both sides.
It was first an undated video shared from Indian social media handles, showing Indian troops clashing with a group of Chinese soldiers in the Pangong Lake area of Ladakh, which started being circulated.
The 2-minutes-and-45-seconds video shows Indian security personnel challenging a group of Chinese soldiers who can be seen with their Dongfeng 4×4 vehicle too. A soldier, believed to be Chinese, could be seen lying on the ground in the video, under the fibre protective shield of an Indian soldier.
However, the Army, in a statement Sunday, said the video was not authenticated and attempts to link it with the tensions along the Line of Actual Control were malafide.
The angle of the video indicates it was shot from the Indian side.
Within hours, Chinese social media handles tweeted an undated image showing five Indian security personnel lying on the ground with their feet tied with the Peoples’ Liberation Army soldiers in the frame.
It appears to be a recent photograph as the Chinese soldiers can be seen wearing a mask. A boat is also visible in the background, indicating it was taken in the vicinity of the Pangong Lake.
However, there was no official word by the forces on this and the picture comes after the Army had officially denied any detention of Indian soldiers on 23 May.
More physical clashes since 5 May
While the clash between Indian and Chinese troops on 5 May has been confirmed by the Army, it has now emerged that several such clashes have been taking place along the Line of Actual Control in the Pangong Lake area.
According to news agency ANI, a major face-off between the troops had occurred in the third week of May in the ‘finger area’. The 134 km of Pangong Lake’s northern bank juts out like a palm, and the various protrusions are identified as “fingers” to demarcate territory.
Sources in the know told ThePrint that a Chinese patrolling party was also stopped by Indian troops from entering the Indian perceived side of LAC on 18 March, which led to a clash.
Both sides had shot videos and pictures during this clash, according to the sources.
On 20 May, ThePrint had reported that troops from both sides have been challenging each other’s patrol on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the Army’s statement also mentioned that “currently no violence is happening”.
Incidentally, while there is a Chinese troop build-up in the Galwan Valley along the LAC and transgressions by their troops have also been reported in the larger Hot Springs Area, Pangong Lake is a major area of concern. Chinese soldiers have been especially aggressive there.
ThePrint had reported Saturday that Chinese soldiers are busy blacktopping a track in the disputed ‘finger’ area of Pangong Lake after blocking the path of Indian patrols with a new bunker, two bulldozers and a moat-like construction. Blacktopping is the final stage of building a motorable road.