The Indian Government is giving powers to the country’s armed forces to make emergency procurements to bulk up its reserves following the intense violence that saw dozens of soldiers killed. The Economic Times in India has reported Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has been told to work with the country’s three armed forces to prioritise these requirements where necessary. Those familiar with the matter told the publication the Navy has also been given the green light to move its firepower close to the Malacca Strait and, if needed, anywhere else in the Indo-Pacific to counter any action from the Chinese.
Fighter jets have been moved to more advanced locations in a sign India and China could be preparing for more bloody violence.
While Delhi had initiated the dialogue to contain the conflict in Ladakh, sources close to the matter told the Economic Times the Government now does not want to take any chances, especially after the bloody battle that took place on Monday night.
On Tuesday, India said 20 of its soldiers had been killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops at the disputed border site at the Galwan Valley in what is now a major escalation of several weeks of standoff between the two Asian nuclear superpowers in the Western Himalayas.
China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed there had been a “violent physical confrontation” and although it made no mention of any deaths, India’s Foreign Ministry said there had been casualties on both sides.
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An Indian Government source claimed no gunfire took place, with troops instead beating each other with iron rods and stones.
China and India are blaming each other for the deadly clashes in the snow deserts of Ladakh, which came after military leaders held meetings in an attempt to resolve the escalating situation.
Hundreds of soldiers have been facing up to each other since the start of last month at a handful of locations, with each side accusing the other of trespassing.
But a statement from the Indian army said a group of soldiers came to blow in the Galwan Valley on Monday night, and that the two sides had now disengaged.
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China and India had been discussing ways to de-escalate, but an Indian Government source told Reuters China’s People’s Liberation Army had turned on a group of Indian soldiers.
The source said: “They attacked with iron rods, the commanding officer was grievously injured and fell, and when that happened, more soldiers swarmed to the area and attacked with stones.”
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement: “Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry 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.
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“China is raising strong opposition and stern representations to the Indian side on this.”
He added: “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.
“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.”
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.
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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.
India and China fought a short but bloody border war in 1962, and there have been occasional flare-ups in the near 60 years following that conflict.
Border guards have come to blows when patrols have clashed with each other, but until Monday night, there had been no deaths at the border since 1967.
Delhi claims it has been operating on its side of the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border.
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.
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 said: “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.”