A day after Chinese troops tried to close in on Indian positions on the South Bank of Ladakh's Pangong Lake, photos have emerged of the soldiers armed with spears and automatic rifles. The images are an indication that the Chinese may have intended to force a physical clash similar to June 15 at Galwan Valley, when 20 Indian soldiers died for the country.
This is the first direct evidence of the mass use of medieval-style weapons of war by the Chinese army. Every single soldier is seen with spears and rifles in the images.
On Monday, Chinese and Indian soldiers were within shooting distance in key hills occupied by India on the south bank of Pangong Lake, between Rechin La-Rezangla-Mukhpari and Magar Hill in South Pangong.
When Chinese soldiers came up to a position near Mukhpari, Indians troops shouted at them and showed their weapons, say sources. Indian soldiers on loud hailer warned of retaliation with gunfire if the Chinese crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC). As the Chinese retreated, they fired a burst of warning shots.
Photos accessed by NDTV show Chinese soldiers standing near Indian positions of Rezang La and Mukhpari yesterday.
These soldiers tried to come onto Indian positions and some of them fired in the air.
Chinese troops have made several attempts to come up to Indian positions after India gained an advantage last month on key heights at Pangong Tso, a glacial lake at 14,000 feet. Despite the provocations, Indians have been able to hold onto their positions.
Sources say it was clear their intention was to potentially get into a skirmish with Indian soldiers like on June 20, when 20 soldiers were killed in action in a clash with the Chinese at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. China also suffered casualties but never confirmed any figure.
Earlier, there were two major incidents of Chinese provocation at Pangong Tso on August 29 and 31. India said the Chinese have been attempting to change status quo from a new area, the South Bank of Pangong. India was prepared and was able to ward off these attempts, said the government.