New Delhi: In a worrying twist of events in the border areas of Ladakh region, an Indian Army officer and two soldiers were killed during a violent confrontation with Chinese troops in the sensitive Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night.
As per the Army sources it was a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, at a time when there were efforts to defuse weeks of tension at the border.
India retaliated and there were casualties on both sides, said the Army.
Army sources said that the soldiers were killed in a physical fight on Indian Territory that involved stones and batons.
Major Generals of both sides are meeting currently, according to an official statement.
This was the first violent incident involving fatalities since 1975 between India and China. The two countries had fought a brief border war in 1962.
“There was no firing. No firearms were used. It was violent hand-to-hand scuffles,” an unnamed officer was quoted by news agency Agence France Presse
The only admission of casualties on the Chinese side so far has come from the editor of their government mouthpiece Global Times.
“Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it,” tweeted Hu Xijin, Editor-in-Chief of Global Times.
Beijing, in an aggressive statement, accused India of crossing the border, “attacking Chinese personnel”. China’s Foreign Ministry said India should not take unilateral actions or stir up trouble.
Immediately after the incident, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation at the border via a video call after meeting the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, the three military chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Soldiers from both sides have been engaged in a stand-off at least two locations along the Line of Actual Control — the 3,488 km de-facto boundary between India and China for over five weeks.
Both the countries have rushed additional troops to the border.
Soldiers have been facing each other at the Galwan River, which was one of the early triggers of the 1962 India-China war, and at the disputed Pangong Tso — a glacial lake at 14,000 feet in the Tibetan plateau, portions of which are claimed by both.