At least 20 Indian Army soldiers have been killed in confrontation with Chinese troops on India-China Border in Galwan valley, sources say. This number is likely to increase. Prior to this, the update was that a colonel-rank officer and two soldiers of the Indian Army were killed in a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley area of Ladakh on Monday night. Reports says that at least five Chinese soldiers are also killed in a series of brutal skirmishes.
In an official statement, the Army said, “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday (Monday) night with casualties on both sides. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers.” Adding to it, the statement said that senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.
The Indian and Chinese armies have been locked in an over five-week standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern Ladakh. The Galwan Valley is one of three areas where Chinese soldiers moved into in big numbers during recent weeks. It is strategically important because it is near the vital road between Darbuk and Shyok to Daulat Beg Oldie, the world’s highest landing ground. No deaths have taken place since 1975 on the borders between the two countries even when tensions were high such as during the 73-day Doklam crisis.
China has accused India of crossing the border. In a report news agency AFP said China has confirmed the Monday-night incident and accused India of crossing the border and “attacking” Chinese troops. According to AFP, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Indian troops “crossed the border line twice… provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides.” India has denied this and has insisted that is has not launched any attack.
The army did not comment on this but people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that all the deaths are from thrown stones and no shots were fired. Despite corp commander talks between India and China, the latter did not withdraw forces from Galwan, said sources in the know. Both sides had agreed to step back from the valley after dialogue on June 6. This rose tensions and resulted in a conflict. External affairs minister S Jaishankar earlier met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Indian Army’s standoff with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley saw violent escalation. Later, Home Minister Amit Shah reached PM Narendra Modi’s residence.
According to ANI, for now the Indian, Chinese troops disengage in Galwan area after violent face-off. The Chinese, in recent weeks, infiltrated into areas close to PP14 in the Galwan Valley Sector and also at the Pangong Lake Sector where they appear to have moved from an area called Finger 4 to Finger 8 of the Pangong Lake. India has held the Galwan Valley but the Chinese have not accepted India’s claims to the area.