At a time it is engaged in a fierce standoff with China’s PLA in eastern Ladakh while the latter has stopped to kidnapping people from Arunachal Pradesh, the Indian Army in the week gone by provided food, warm clothes and medical assistance to three Chinese citizens who had lost their way in sub-zero temperatures at an altitude of 17,500 ft in a border area in North Sikkim.
The Indian soldiers deployed in the area guided the Chinese citizens, including a woman, to return to the Chinese side and reach their destination.
The humanitarian gesture by the Indian Army stands out in the stark contrast of Chinese troops’ aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh and lumpen-like conduct in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Indian Army, in a statement, said the three Chinese citizens lost their way in the Plateau area of northern Sikkim. “Realising danger to the lives of the Chinese citizens in sub-zero temperatures, the soldiers of Indian Army immediately reached out and provided medical assistance including oxygen, food and warm clothes to protect them from the vagaries of extreme altitude and harsh climatic conditions,” it said.
The army said the Indian troops also gave them appropriate guidance to reach their destination after which they returned. “The Chinese citizens expressed their gratitude to India and the Indian Army for their prompt assistance,” it said.
The Indian Army and Chinese PLA are locked in a bitter border row in eastern Ladakh for the last four months. The tensions had escalated manifold after 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in a fierce clash between the two sides in Galwan Valley on 15 June where, the US estimates, 35 Chinese soldiers were killed and many were seriously wounded.
Tensions flared up again in the region after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory on the southern bank of Pangong lake around a week back.
Following the attempts, India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has strongly objected to India’s move.
India has rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following China’s transgression attempts.
Defence ministers of the two countries met on the sidelines of a multilateral meet in Moscow on Friday.