India has termed as “utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous” a report about casualties of Indian soldiers in Sikkim due to military action with another country.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay also said that no cognisance should be taken of these reports by responsible media.
“Such reports are utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous,” Baglay said in response to a query on reports in Pakistani media.
His reaction came after a Pakistani media organisation reported at least 158 Indian soldiers have been killed on Monday as China fired rockets across the border on Indian border installations.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted live-fire exercises in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, state-run China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Friday, without mentioning the exact timing of the drills.
The brigade that conducted the drills was from the PLA’s Tibet Military Command and is one of China’s two plateau mountain brigades, Global Times reported on Monday.
The PLA Tibet command guards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) of the India-China border along several sections connecting the mountainous Tibetan region.
According to the CCTV report, the brigade has long been stationed around the middle and lower reaches of the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Zangbo in Chinese) River which flows into India and Bangladesh and is responsible for frontline combat missions.
The live-fire drills included the quick delivery of troops and different military units working together on joint attacks.
Video posted online showed soldiers using anti-tank grenades and missiles against bunkers and howitzers for artillery coverage.
The video also showed radar units identifying enemy aircraft and soldiers using anti-aircraft artillery to destroy targets. The drills lasted 11 hours.
Separately, Tibet’s mobile communication agency conducted a drill on July 10 in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, where members of the agency practiced setting up a temporary mobile network to secure communications in an emergency.
Earlier reports said the PLA units exercised with several modern weapon systems including a new light battle tank being manufactured by China.
China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector, where Indian troops stopped road construction by Chinese soldiers on June 16.
China has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Dokalam plateau.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.
(With inputs from PTI)