India has said 20 of its soldiers were killed by Chinese Army
Four Indian army men are in critical condition after violent clashes with Chinese troops at eastern Ladakh on Monday evening, news agency ANI reported. Earlier the Army had confirmed that 20 soldiers were killed in the fight at Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
The government has also given powers to the armed forces to make emergency procurements to stock up its war reserves amid tension building up on the LAC with China, a day after 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Economic Times reported that the government did not want to leave anything to chance at this stage, especially after the violence on Monday night.
The report claimed that Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has been asked to coordinate with the three services on prioritising the requirements, where necessary.
“The Navy has also been given the go-ahead to deploy its assets near the Malacca Strait and, if needed, anywhere else in the Indo-Pacific to counter Chinese action. Air Force assets, including fighters, too have been moved up to forward locations,” the report claimed.
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.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese army in the Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh. Casualty numbers could rise, News Agency ANI reported quoting Government sources.
The Chinese soldiers reportedly used clubs with nails, stones and sticks to target Indian soldiers.
The external affairs ministry has 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.
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.
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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