India’s army said three of its soldiers were killed in a “violent faceoff” with soldiers from China on Monday night – reporting the first casualties in 53 years to result from a clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Indian Government sources claimed no gunfire took place but instead, the Indian soldiers could have been beaten, stoned and drowned to death in Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh. The Indian army said in a statement: “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides.
“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.”
It then emerged five Chinese soldiers were killed and 11 injured during the violent clashes at the China-India border.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has warned India not to take any unilateral action or “stir up troubles”.
Spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing: “Our border troops had a high-level meeting and reached important consensus on easing the border situation but astonishingly on June 15 the 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 and China has lodged strong protest and representation with the Indian side.
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“We once again solemnly ask the Indian side to follow our consensus, strictly regulate its front-line troops and do not cross the line, do not stir up troubles or make unilateral moves that may complicate matters.”
Spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing: “What’s shocking is that on June 15, the Indian side severely violated our consensus and twice crossed the border line and provoked and attacked the Chinese forces, causing a violent physical confrontation between the two border forces.
“China is raising strong opposition and stern representations to the Indian side on this.”
But mystery surrounds the exact detail of the conflict after Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao said on Tuesday he was not aware of any incident on the border with India.
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Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times newspaper, tweeted: “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash.”
The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
China and India have been locked in a bitter standoff on the Galwan valley in the western Himalayas for several weeks, with both sides accusing each other of trespassing into the other’s territory.
The two countries have rival claims to huge areas of territory along their huge 2,173 mile border, and the disputes have remained largely peaceful since the war in 1962.
Hundreds of soldiers have faced off in battle against each other in the remote snow desert of Ladakh since April in what is the most serious border conflict in several years.
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This came after Chinese patrols advanced into the Indian side of the de facto border.
China and India appeared to make progress in talks last week, with Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane suggesting a dis-engagement was close.
On Saturday, he told reporters in Dehradun: “I would like to assure you that entire situation along our border with China is under control.
“Both sides disengaging in a phased manner starting from North in GRV where a lot of disengagement has taken place.”
High level talks between China and India for de-escalation in the Galwan region had taken place, with leading army commanders from both sides meeting in an attempt to reduce tensions.
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The fifth round of talks took place despite the continued build-up of troops on both sides.
Last week, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “Through diplomatic and military channels, China and India have recently had effective communication and reached agreement on properly handling the situation in the west section of the China-India boundary.
“At present, the two sides are taking actions in line with the agreement to ameliorate the border situation.”
The border conflicts between China and India stretch back nearly 60 years, with the two sides fighting a brief war in 1962.
But the two military giants have been unable to settle their border dispute following two decades of attempted peace talks.