Three Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer of a battalion, have died in an unarmed conflict with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh.
The last time an incident between the two countries resulted in fatalities was in 1975.
The Indian Army in a statement said that the face-off took place on the evening of June 15 in the Eastern Ladakh region.
Indian and Chinese armies had been in a standoff for several weeks since early May at the border points of Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in the eastern Ladakh region.
The Indian Army said that senior military officials of both sides are currently holding talks. “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,” said its statement.
The Economic Times, an Indian newspaper, reported that a Junior Commissioned Officer and a soldier were killed apart from the Commanding Officer. As of writing, details around the weapons used are unconfirmed. Some Indian news reports say that the soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand combat, while others suggest that the deaths were from stone-pelting. The Indian Army’s statement did not mention the nature of the violent confrontation.
Earlier, India accused the Chinese People’s Liberation Army army of crossing the de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control, and occupying swathes of Indian land. On June 11, Indian and Chinese officials held talks to resolve issues and agreed upon partial disengagement of troops at multiple locations.
At the press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, June 16, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused Indian soldiers of trespassing their Line of Control.
“Indian troops seriously violated our consensus and twice crossed the border line for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel which led to serious physical conflict between the two sides,” said Lijian.
The news agency AFP, quoting unnamed Indian officials, said that there were casualties on both sides of the border. At the press statement, Lijian appealed to India to “strictly regulate its front line troops and do not cross the line”.
“Do not stir up troubles or take unilateral moves that may complicate matters," he said, adding that “peace and tranquility in the border area” is necessary for dialogue and consolation.
This is a developing story and will be updated to reflect breaking news.
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