At least 10 Indian Army personnel killed in violent face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, News Agency Press Trust of India reported quoting Government Sources.
Earlier, it was reported that three Indian soldiers including a Colonel and two army soldiers were killed in the Galwan region of Ladakh, amid tensions between the armies of India and China, on Monday.
At least 10 Indian Army personnel killed in violent face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley: government sources
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 16, 2020
The Chinese soldiers reportedly used clubs with nails, stones and sticks to target Indian soldiers.
Thirty-four Indian soldiers are also missing – believed to either be dead or captured, as per a report in The Telegraph, quoting unnamed senior Indian Army sources.
The report titled, ‘Three Indian soldiers killed in hand-to-hand fighting on Chinese border’ says that the development has not been confirmed by the government yet.
The external affairs ministry said the escalation in Galwan Valley of Ladakh happened “as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there”.
“Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in response to queries on the border situation.
Srivastava also underscored that activities of the Indian army were within the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. “We expect the same of the Chinese side,” he said.
“We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Srivastava said.
Earlier, Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh held a meeting with General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, and three service chiefs over recent developments between Indian and Chinese armies at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, as reported by Times of India.
A statement by Army read that senior military officials of both sides are engaged in a meeting to defuse the situation.
As per the Indian army statement, “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.”
Reports also suggest that soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were killed and injured.
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Global Times reporter, Wang Wenwen, said that no bullets were fired and it was hand-to-hand combat. Wenwen cited reports saying that the incident took place at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the China-India border on June 15.
China has accused India of crossing the border and attacking Chinese personnel, and called on India to “not take unilateral actions or stir up trouble.”
“Indian troops seriously violated the consensus of the two sides by illegally crossing the border twice and carrying out provocative attacks on Chinese soldiers, resulting in serious physical clashes,” Global Times, quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian as saying.
The armies of India and China are locked in a tense standoff at three points in eastern Ladakh, wherein China has reportedly occupied 60 sq. kilometres of territory claimed by India.
Recently, the Indian Army Chief had said, “situation along our borders with China is under control”, adding that a series of meetings between senior military commanders from both sides had resulted in “a lot of disengagement” and that “all perceived differences that we (India and China) have will be set to rest”.
India and China are currently engaged in military level talks to disengage in the Ladakh region where tensions have been building up. Armies of both countries have gotten into fist fights in the high altitude region.
Indian side maintains that both parties have mutually agreed to pull back troops, but accept that tension in the Pangong Tso region remains.
Chinese government mouthpiece has been upping its rhetoric while the PLA has been moving heavy weaponry to the border and conducting military drills.
A Chinese diplomat reacting to the standoff in Ladakh has said that the move is linked to the Indian government’s unilateral decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.
The move changed the laws that prohibited Indians from buying land in Kashmir, and made the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir defunct, triggering fears of demographic change in the Muslims majority region of Kashmir.
When India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year, the Chinese foreign ministry had issued two statements criticising the development, including one that focused on the splitting of the state into union territories.
This statement, while urging India to be “cautious” on the border issue and to avoid “actions that further complicate the border issue”, said: “China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border.” This was a reference to the area in Ladakh that New Delhi claims but is controlled by Beijing.
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