A violent faceoff between nuclear powers India and China in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed has sparked fears of World War 3. This follows rising tensions in the in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh of the disputed Kashmir region. This is the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years.
The Indian army has confirmed that 20 of its soldiers died in the violent faceoff, a few hours after reporting that three soldiers had been killed. Another 17 soldiers succumbed to the injuries suffered during the violent clashes.
“Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20,” the official statement read.
China did not confirm any casualties but multiple sources in government and military establishments said the Chinese side also suffered “proportionate casualties” but chose not to speculate on the numbers. However, news agency ANI said that Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese suffered 43 casualties. ANI did not give an exact figure on the number of Chinese soldiers who died but wrote that the number “43” includes both killed and wounded.
Both India and Chian have accused each other of breaking an agreement struck the previous week to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.
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 news agency reported.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condoled the death of the Army personnel who died following a fierce fight with Chinese soldiers on June 15. He tweeted: “Words cannot describe the pain I feel for the officers and men who sacrificed their lives for our country. My condolences to all their loved ones. We stand with you in this difficult time.”
UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China and urged both sides to exercise “maximum restraint,” his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Eri Kaneko, the Associate Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, made the comments at the daily press briefing.
“We are concerned about reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China and urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint. We take positive note of reports that the two countries have engaged to deescalate the situation,” Kaneko said.