About 150 Indian and Chinese soldiers scuffled last week along a demarcation line called the Line of Actual Control (LAC), an area of a dispute pitting China to the north and India to the south, reports said.

Several soldiers on each side suffered minor injuries from fistfights and thrown stones, the Press Trust of India reported. No shots were fired and according to one Indian Army officer, the incident was resolved mutually as per established protocols.

Indian Army Eastern Command spokesman Mandeep Hooda said, “Aggressive behavior by the two sides resulted in minor injuries to troops. It was stone-throwing and arguments that ended in a fistfight. Temporary and short-duration face-offs between border-guarding troops do occur as boundaries are not resolved.”

The most recent skirmishes occurred in Sikkim and Ladakh. Hooda explained that the Saturday “stand-off” occurred at the Naku La sector near the 15,000-feet Nathu La crossing in the northeastern state of Sikkim. He said “dialogue and interaction” at a local level quelled the violence.

India China Border
A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Nov. 11, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

According to some sources, there was a previous incident involving fisticuffs and rocks that occurred on May 5 and May 6 on the northern bank of Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. Local commanders managed to resolve the differences through dialogue.

On Sunday, after more troops were sent to Ladakh, there were reports of other violent encounters, but this has not been confirmed and the Indian Army went so far as to deny it.

China is well known for its aggressive naval tactics in the South China Sea, with some observers saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for them to proceed with their plans while their main adversary, the United States, is distracted.

It remains to be seen if they are taking a more aggressive action with ground troops on the Line of Actual Control with India, or if this is a “normal” scuffle like those that have occurred over the years.

A 73-day standoff occurred in 2017 in Doklam, southeast of Sikkim, when India halted the construction of a road being built by the PLA in a disputed area.

A year later India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping held an informal summit in April, in Wuhan, to strengthen ties between the two countries. A decision was made that when soldiers face each other across the LAC, neither side should point guns toward the other. Perhaps they can make a similar agreement about rocks in future negotiations.