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Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a brawl in north Sikkim last week, with soldiers from both armies suffering injuries, officials familiar with the development said on Monday. The aggressive confrontation between rival troops took place in Naku La, a pass at a height of more than 5,000 metres, the officials said. The army is expected to issue a statement on the skirmish soon.

The clash took place after Chinese soldiers attempted to intrude into Indian territory, they said.

This is the second such incident in the eastern sector in less than a year. Scores of Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off along the India-China boundary in Naku La last May. Four Indian soldiers and seven Chinese troops suffered injuries during the May 9, 2020 confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers.

The Naku La area is traditionally not prone to face-offs. Rival soldiers have clashed at least four times since the India-China border row erupted in the Ladakh sector in early May. The situation in the Ladakh sector remains tense and the ongoing military and diplomatic dialogue has not had any positive outcome.

India and China on Sunday held yet another round of military talks in their latest attempt to ease tensions in eastern Ladakh, where the two sides have been locked in a lingering border standoff that has hit bilateral, at a time when frontline soldiers are deployed eyeball to eyeball at friction points on the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC), officials familiar with the development said.

The corps commander-level talks between the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were held at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC.

On January 12, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said that the Indian Army was prepared to hold its ground in eastern Ladakh “for as long as it takes” to achieve national objectives in case the ongoing military and diplomatic talks with China are prolonged.

Experts said talks are deadlocked because of serious differences between the two sides on the conditions of disengagement, as previously reported by Hindustan Times.