ECONOMYNEXT – At least 20 Indian soldiers including a Colonel are dead in a clash with Chinese forces in a disputed Himalayan border area, Indian officials say.
Indian media is reporting that “no shots were fired” and that the clash was a “brawl” that had Chinese soldiers wielding nail-studded clubs.
The incident follows rising tensions, and is the deadliest clash in the border area in at least 43 years, the Times of India reported.
The Indian army initially said three of its soldiers had been killed, adding that both sides suffered casualties, BBC reported.
But later on Tuesday, officials said a number of critically injured soldiers had died of their wounds.
India’s external affairs ministry accused China of breaking an agreement struck the previous week to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says violence between two armies high up in the Himalayas is very serious, and pressure will grow on the two nuclear powers not to allow a slide into full-scale conflict.
Early on Tuesday, the Indian army said three of its soldiers, including an officer, had died in a clash in Ladakh, in the disputed Kashmir region.
Later in the day, it released a statement saying the two sides had disengaged.
It added that “17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty” and died from their injuries, taking the “total that was killed in action to 20”.
China did not confirm any casualties but accused India in turn of crossing the border onto the Chinese side.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said India had crossed the border twice on Monday, “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in a serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides”, AFP news agency reported. (Colombo, June 17, 2020)