An Indian officer and two soldiers were killed in a “violent faceoff” with Chinese troops on the contested border, the Indian Army said on Tuesday, reporting the first casualties in decades to result from a clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours. And reports claim five Chinese soldiers were also killed. India and China have been locked in a standoff in the Galwan valley in the western Himalayas for weeks with both accusing each other of trespassing into the other’s territory. Times Now Executive Editor Vivek Narayan warned that a “major crisis” could spark from the incident.
He said: “We were looking at a peaceful deescalation.
“What led to this carnage as the army calls it?
“And why is it that the Indian soldiers were shot?
“We are seeing over the past many years there have been scuffles along the frontier between the Chinese and the Indian soldiers but never has it led to the use of firearms on either side.
“This is very shocking. We saw the pushing and punching happening two years back and just about a month back.
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“There are arguments between the two sides, between the PLA and the Indian forces, but the fact that firearms have been used means that a major escalation has happened.”
He warned: “It is incumbent on both the political leadership and the arm forces leadership of both nations to ensure that it doesn’t lead to a further conflagration because this is a point which can lead to a major crisis.”
The Indian army said there had been an incident on Monday and both sides had suffered casualties.
“During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides,” the army said.
“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.”
India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 and have not been unable to settle their border dispute despite talks spread over two decades.
Border guards have had skirmishes, even fisticuffs when patrols have confronted each other, but there has been no loss of life for more than 30 years.
The Chinese foreign ministry called on India not to take any unilateral action or stir up trouble.
A ministry spokesman in Bejing said there was a serious violation of the consensus reached by the two countries when Indian troops provoked and attacked Chinese personnel, leading to a serious physical conflict.
The Asian giants have rival claims to vast swathes of territory along their mountainous 3,500 km (2,173 mile) border, but the disputes have remained largely peaceful since the 1962 war.