Escalation in India-China border dispute, over 20 soldiers killed in the clash
In a military stand-off between Indian and Chinese forces on Monday night, both the armies lost a few of their soldiers in the clash at the Galwan valley, located in the mountains of Ladakh. It was the first violent clash between the armies of the Asian giants in the last 45 years. As per the media reports India lost 20 soldiers, while Chinese officials did not release any count of casualties. The armed forces of Delhi and Beijing, who are equipped with nuclear weapons, advanced artillery, tanks and more, apparently fought with club sticks, stones and hands.
Later on Tuesday Indian Army in its official statement said, “Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the stand off location 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,” it added. There is no official confirmation on the number of injuries on the Indian side.
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the Indian Army said that three Indians – a colonel and two soldiers – were killed. Indian military sources also revealed that no firing happened during the dispute as it was a hand-to-hand fight.
“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,” the Army’s statement said.
It was the fourth skirmish between Indian and Chinese forces after the two witnessed sparks in three places in Ladakh and Assam, a month ago. As per the reports, in April the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) took control of a series of remote border posts along the disputed frontier, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The incident led to quick and heavy troop deployment on both the sides of the LAC. As troops got posted, both the sides fought with each other in fistfights twice in May, at Pangong lake, in Ladakh, and at Naku La in Sikkim, leading to serious injuries on both sides. Lieutenant-General H.S. Panag, a former head of the Indian army’s northern command told the Economist that they the PLA tried to grab around 40 to 60 square kilometres of territory that India claims to be its own.
On the other hand, Chinese new agency, the Global Times reported that the Chinese foreign ministry accused India of carrying out “provocative attacks” on Chinese soldiers after “illegally crossing” the border. “China and Indian side agreed to resolve the bilateral issues through dialogue to ease the border situation and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas,” it mentioned .
ANI reported that Army Generals and diplomats of both the nations were having a discuss to ease off the tension. Both the nations expressed willingness to deescalate the issue. Responding to the India-China border row, US said that it was ‘closely monitoring’ the situation. A senior US state department official said that Washington hoped that Delhi and Beijing were able to peacefully resolve the matter.