On June 15th, an escalation took place between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, a disputed border region.
As a result of clashes, 1 Indian officer and 2 soldiers died. The Indian side said that China also lost soldiers, but it is unclear how many.
Indian army sources say the soldiers were not shot but were killed in hand-to-hand combat on Indian Territory.
There was no shootout or gunshot wounds, say sources. “There was no firing. No firearms were used. It was violent hand-to-hand scuffles,”
BIG BREAKING: Indian Army Colonel (Commanding Officer of an infantry battalion) and 2 Army jawans killed in action during a clash with Chinese troops at one of the standoff points in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh. Details awaited. pic.twitter.com/Ze7zArV6h3
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) June 16, 2020
The army statement said: “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides. 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.”
On June 16th, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that on June 15th “Indian troops seriously violated our consensus and twice crossed the border line for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel which lead to serious physical conflict between the two sides.”
“China has lodged strong protest and representation with the India side, and we once again we solemnly ask the India side to follow our consensus and strictly regulate its front line troops and do not cross the line and do not stir up troubles or take unilateral moves that may complicate matters,” Zhao added. “We both agreed to resolve this issue through dialogue and consolation and make efforts for easing the situation and upholding peace and tranquility in the border area.”
He didn’t mention any Chinese casualties.
Following the incident, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, the three military chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to discuss the situation.
Indian and Chinese soldiers have been locked in a standoff for weeks at Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh.
A significant number of Chinese army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control or the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso.
After weeks of face-off including an incident in which patrolling soldiers from the two sides came to blows on the banks of Pangong Lake, resulting in injuries, friction eased following talks.
China reportedly opposes the Indian construction of roads and air strips in the area. After years of neglect Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has pushed for improving connectivity and by 2022, 66 key roads along the Chinese border should be built.
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