–Chinese official says Indian forces twice crossed border illegally on Monday and attacked troops
–UK paper says four Indian soldiers are currently missing while another 32 ‘were handed back after being captured’
NEW DELHI: At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh after a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops ensued, ANI reported on Tuesday, quoting the Indian Army.
The Indian publication said that both sides “have disengaged” after 17 Indian troops were injured. The injured troops “exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries”, added ANI. This brought the death toll, from the earlier reported three to 20.
And exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20. Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation: Indian Army (2/2) https://t.co/5duc0Jlfwb
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2020
According to earlier reports by Indian media, three troops, including an officer and two soldiers were among those killed near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation,” an official statement said.
Meanwhile, British news outlet The Telegraph, quoting Indian army sources, reported that four soldiers are currently missing and a further 32 “were handed back after being captured”.
Indian media also reported that 40 Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, however, the news was soon retracted.
India and China have been locked in a standoff in the western Himalayas for weeks, though there had been no casualties on either side.
In Beijing, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said that Indian forces had twice crossed the border illegally on Monday and attacked Chinese personnel. He said the Chinese side had “lodged strong protests” but continued to work toward resolving the tensions between the two countries.
#China lodges solemn representations against Indian military’s border crossing and proactive actions, which led to serious clashes on Monday. China urges the India side to restrain its troops in accordance with the consensus, said Chinese FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/4MR2C24DMe
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) June 16, 2020
According to the Hindustan Times, Beijing accused the Indian army of provoking and attacking Chinese soldiers after a border meeting to de-escalate the ongoing tension led to a “physical conflict” between the two sides. Reuters’ report suggested that Beijing warned New Delhi not to take unilateral action or stir up trouble.
The Asian giants have rival claims to vast swathes of territory along their 3,500 kilometers Himalayan border, but the disputes have remained largely peaceful since a border war in 1962.
India’s main stock indexes, gave up earlier gains after the news, and were last up about 0.4 per cent each at 07:40 GMT, while the rupee weakened to 76.04 to the dollar.
Tensions along the China-India border high in the Himalayas have flared again in recent weeks, leading defense experts in New Delhi to fear that the jostling could turn into an unintended full-blown military action.
Indian officials say the latest row began in early May, when Chinese soldiers entered the disputed territory of Ladakh at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts. They said the Chinese soldiers ignored repeated verbal warnings to depart, triggering shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights. China has sought to downplay the confrontation while providing little information.
Observers, however, believe that the face-off was triggered by India’s construction of roads and airstrips in the region.