China and India accuse each other of border moves and firing shots


India and China accused each other on Tuesday of making provocative military moves and firing warning shots along their disputed border despite talks to end the escalating tensions. China said that Indian forces on Monday crossed into territory it holds along their disputed border and fired warning shots at a Chinese patrol in what it called a violation of their agreements. India denied that and said the Chinese soldiers tried to surround one of their forward posts in a "grave provocation'' and also fired warning shots.

The nuclear-armed rivals have been engaged in a tense stand-off in the cold-desert Ladakh region since May, and their defence ministers met on Friday in Moscow in the first high-level direct contact between the sides since the stand-off began.

China's western military command said the incursion occurred on Monday along the southern coast of Pangong Lake in the area known in Chinese as Shenpaoshan. On the Indian side, the area is known as Chushul where the two countries local military commanders have held several rounds of talks to defuse the tense stand-off.

After shots were fired, Chinese forces took "necessary measures to stabilise and control the situation,'' the command said, in the statement, citing spokesman Zhang Shuili. It demanded the Indian forces withdraw and investigate the move to open fire.

Col. Aman Anand, an Indian army spokesman, said China continues "provocative activities to escalate'' tensions along the front line and called the China's military statement an attempt to mislead domestic and international audiences. Anand said the Chinese soldiers had tried to surround an Indian military post and fired a few shots in the air when the Indian soldiers "dissuaded'' them. He said Indian troops "exercised great restraint".

He accused China's military of "blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress.'' 

There was no word of casualties on either side. (AP)

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