Twenty Indian soldiers were killed on Monday evening in a clash with Chinese troops on India-China border in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan valley. The troops from the two countries have been locked in a face-off for 40 days. The encounter happened along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh where rival soldiers were caught in a stand-off that began with a confrontation between rival patrols near Pangong Tso on the night of May 5-6.
PM Narendra Modi gave an official statement on Wednesday.
PM Modi remarked, “We will not compromise with our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have shown our strength when it comes to protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. We have showcased our abilities. Sacrifice is part of our Indian tradition. But, valour and bravery is equally a part of our tradition. I want to assure the nation that the sacrifices of our jawans will not go in vain. For us, India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are most important. No one can stop us from protecting this. No one should doubt this. India wants peace. But on being provoked, India can give a befitting response under any circumstances. The country will be proud that our brave martyrs were killed after valiantly killing many (Chinese soldiers).”
• On June 15, 20 Indian soldiers including a commanding officer were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan valley where soldiers of the two countries have been locked in a tense stand-off for 40 days.
• This is the first time that military personnel have died in border clashes between India and China since 1975 when Chinese troops ambushed an Indian troop in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tulung La and shot four soldiers dead.
• The India – China border has been witnessing tension over the past month, with incidents reported in at least 4 different locations along The Line of Actual Control (LAC).
• On May 14, Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said incidents at the Pangong Lake in Ladakh on May 5 and in Naku La in Sikkim on May 9 ha led to injuries, caused by “aggressive behaviour on both sides.”
• On June 6, top military officials of both the countries discussed the de-escalation plan and on June 9, limited military disengagement had begun at 3 hotspots along the LAC including Galwan Valley.
• According to reports, the stand-off in Galwan Valley was triggered by China moving in troops and equipment to stop construction activity by India as India plays catch – up in improving infrastructure there.
• While China blames India for breaking the promise, crossing the line of actual control twice to carry out illegal activities and purposefully launching provocative attacks.
• India blamed the clashes on “an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there”, rebutting China’s claims.
• The situation remains tense at Pangong, which has been at the centre of the ongoing border scrap and where troops are still locked in a face-off.
• The Indian Army, in its initial statement early on Tuesday, had announced that an officer and two soldiers had been killed in action. However, by evening, an update said 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high-altitude terrain had succumbed to injuries.
•The army statement issued on Tuesday evening also said the Indian and Chinese troops at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed “have disengaged”.
•The Chinese army also suffered casualties in the face-off but there was no immediate confirmation of the numbers.
• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Modi on the developments at the LAC after holding two meetings with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs. The external affairs minister S Jaishankar was also present in one of these meetings.
• Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane cancelled a scheduled visit to Pathankot on Tuesday.
• This is the first casualties for India in a clash with the PLA since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
• The Chinese foreign ministry has called on India to not take unilateral actions or stir up trouble, news agency Reuters reported.
• India and China have been locked in a stand-off in the Ladakh region for weeks.