Three Indian soldiers were killed in a “violent face-off” on the Chinese border on Tuesday, according to the Indian army. Indian authorities said that there were “casualties on both sides”, but Beijing did not mention of any deaths and called out India for the incident.
“A violent face-off took place yesterday [Monday] night with casualties on both sides. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers,” an Indian army spokesman said in a statement.
An Indian army officer based in the region told that there had been no shooting and that the officer killed had been a colonel.
“There was no firing. No firearms were used. It was violent hand-to-hand scuffles,” the officer said on condition of anonymity. “Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”
Beijing, on the other hand, said that the border had been crossed by India and they had “attacked Chinese personnel”.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Indian troops “crossed the border line twice… provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides.”
According to reports, the incident took place in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region.
The two nations have been involved in a face-off since May. On May 9, soldiers of both armies had been injured in a clash.
The Chinese foreign ministry said only last week that a “positive consensus” on resolving the latest border issue was achieved following “effective communication” through diplomatic and military channels.
In a later statement, India’s foreign ministry had said the two sides would “continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”
But sources and Indian news reports suggested that India appears to have effectively ceded to China areas that the People’s Liberation Army occupied in recent weeks, notably parts of the northern side of the Pangong Tso lake and some of the strategically important Galwan river valley.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have sought to ease tensions at summits over the past two years when they agreed to boost border communications between their militaries.