New Delhi: The government on Tuesday described as "incorrect" a media report which claimed that two ITBP jawans were injured in firing by Chinese troops in Sikkim recently.
"A media report about two ITBP jawans having been injured due to firing from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has come to notice. The report is factually incorrect," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said in a statement here.
The report had claimed that two jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were injured when Chinese troops had fired at them in Kerang in northern Sikkim about a fortnight ago.
The newspaper report further stated that following the Kerang shootout, border personnel held an emergency meeting on August 30. The daily confirmed the firing incident through a top intelligence source, who refused to be named.
While the government has refuted the report, officials at the ITBP headquarters in New Delhi refused to comment on the incident.
If the report was correct, it would have been the first instance of firing along the Indo-China border since the 1996 bilateral agreement pledging not to open fire, no matter what the provocation, as a part of confidence-building measures.
Beijing has sought to maintain pressure on the 2.1 sq km area of ‘Finger Tip’ in northern Sikkim. Last year, a Chinese vehicle had patrolled into this area, entering as deep as one kilometre into the Indian territory.
The Sikkim incident, which the government has refuted, comes on the heels of reported Chinese incursions into the Indian territory in Leh and Ladakh. A Jammu and Kashmir government report also claimed that Beijing was carrying out construction work along the International Border in Karakoram Ranges.
China has however officially denied any breach of the Indo-China border of the Line of Actual Control.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing yesterday denied reports of Chinese airspace violations and incursions in border areas. A team of the ministry officials also met Indian media representatives based in Beijing to convey a message, that India is China’s partner and not a rival.
“China does not pose any threat to India. For us, the biggest task is to develop ourselves so that 1.3 billion people can lead a good life. I don’t think it’s logical to say that when a country grows strong it will bully others,” said Sun Weidong, deputy director-general of the ministry’s Asian department.
“It’s in China’s interest to have a prosperous neighbour,” said Sun adding “both are developing nations, both need a peaceful surrounding environment.”