An Indian lawmaker is alleging that Chinese troops have abducted five Indian civilians near the disputed border between the two countries.
Tapir Gao from Arunachal Pradesh state made the claim in a tweet on Saturday, although he did not provide further details, according to the BBC.
The news agency reports that India’s military has now sent a message to their Chinese counterparts to inquire about the alleged kidnappings.
An Indian army convoy carrying reinforcements and supplies drives on a highway bordering China on Sept. 2 in Gagangir, India. (Getty Images)
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the BBC that Beijing has “no details to release yet,” but that it also has “never recognized so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh,’ which is China’s south Tibet region.”
Tensions between the two countries have been simmering in recent months over a disputed border farther west in the Ladakh region, which boasts the world’s highest landing strip and a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world.
The situation escalated dramatically in June when both sides fought with clubs, stones, and fists, leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead and dozens wounded. China did not report any casualties.
India and China have held several rounds of talks in hopes of resolving the tensions — mainly involving military commanders — yet they haven’t resulted in success.
Last week, India said its soldiers thwarted “provocative” movements by China’s military twice. In turn, China’s Defense Ministry accused Indian troops of crossing established lines of control and creating provocations along the border.
The two nations fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh and ended in a fragile truce. Since then, troops from both sides have patrolled and guarded the undefined border area, according to protocols worked out by the two countries that included not using firearms against each other.
India unilaterally declared Ladakh a federal territory and separated it from Kashmir in August 2019, ending its semi-autonomous status. China was among the countries to strongly condemn the move, raising it at international forums, including the U.N. Security Council.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.