20 Indian soldiers killed in border clashes with China: Indian defence PRO
In the first violent border faceoff between India and China in 45 years on Monday night, 20 Indian soldiers including a colonel were killed at Galwan area in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Defence public relations officer said last night.
"Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of June 15-16, 2020," Indian Defence PRO said.
Seventeen Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty during the standoff and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total killed in action to 20, the PRO said.
Earlier last night, India squarely blamed China for Monday night's violent standoff between the militaries of the countries along their unresolved borders saying the incident was the "result of attempt by China to unilaterally change the status quo".
Meanwhile, 43 Chinese soldiers were either killed or injured in the faceoff, Indian news agency ANI reported quoting unnamed Indian government sources.
Earlier tonight, India squarely blamed China for Monday night's violent standoff between the militaries of the countries along their unresolved borders saying the incident was the "result of attempt by China to unilaterally change the status quo."
China did not confirm any casualties, but accused India in turn of crossing the border onto the Chinese side.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said India had crossed the border twice on Monday, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides," AFP quoted Lijian as saying.
In response to media queries on the situation in the western sector of the India-China border, Anurag Srivastava, official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said, "India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh."
"Senior Commanders had a productive meeting on June 6, 2020 and agreed on a process for such de-escalation. Subsequently, ground commanders had a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached at a higher level," he said.
"The Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley," Srivastava said.
The LAC is the de facto border between India and China.
He said that on the late evening and night of June 15, the violent face-off 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 [reached] at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side," the MEA spokesman said.
Srivastava said India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. "We expect the same of the Chinese side.
"India remained firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he added.