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World War 3 fears: India sends more troops to China border following deadly clash

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The six-week stand-off escalated earlier this week when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in brutal hand-to-hand fighting with troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. India claims its men were bludgeoned to death with nail-studded bamboo clubs before their mutilated corpses were tossed into a freezing river at the foot of the Galwan Valley.

Satellite images show both sides have since moved extra troops into the valley and are setting up significant positions.

Indian troops are about 500 metres back from the Line of Actual Control – the de facto border created in the valley after India’s defeat to China in a brief 1962 war.

China’s main position is just under two miles back but PLA troops have set up a small outpost on the LAC.

The troop deployments come despite diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions in the volatile region.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he still planned to participate in a previously scheduled virtual meeting with counterparts from Russia and China on June 23.

Mr Jaishankar spoke to senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi yesterday and said both sides had agreed not to take any steps to escalate matters.

An Indian official said senior military officers from both sides were holding more talks today.

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But Mr Jaishankar and Mr Wang blamed each other’s army for the Monday night’s bloody battle – the deadliest border clash since 1967 – and both called for the other side to rein in its troops.

The Indian foreign ministry said Mr Jaishankar had told Mr Wang: “The need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its action and take corrective action.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said its troops had suffered 43 casualties but did not specify whether any of its men had been killed.

It said India must punish those responsible for the conflict and control its frontline troops.

The nuclear-armed neighbours fought a brief border war in 1962 and have had occasional flare-ups when patrols have confronted each other at the poorly defined LAC.

The latest stand-off began in early May when both sides accused the other of illegally crossing into its territory.

China has taken an increasingly belligerent foreign policy stance in recent months, particularly over the South China Sea and the coronaviris crisis, and is said to be unhappy with India’s plans for infrastructure improvements in the region.

Defence analysts have warned peace cannot be guaranteed.



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