Twenty Indian soldiers were killed at the border Monday night in a face-off with Chinese soldiers. The Indian Army had initially put the number at three, but in an update on Tuesday evening it said 17 soldiers wounded in the clashes were injured. It started on 5-6 May near Ladakh’s Pagong Lake.
This is the first deadly confrontation in at least 45 years between India and China. In the violent face-off around 43 Chinese soldiers were injured, pushing the bilateral relationship between the two nuclear powers to an all-time low.
Here are the new developments about the face-off between India and China:
• The United States said that after the clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh it is “closely monitored.” A senior official at the State Department said he hopes the differences will be resolved in peace.• The army said both Indian and Chinese forces had disengaged from the area of the Galwan valley where the clashes were taking place. Senior military officers in the area had chatted to defuse the situation.
• The army had said in a statement that it is firmly committed to protecting the nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
• The Ministry of External Affairs said the violent face-off was the result of a Chinese side’s attempt to change the status quo unilaterally in the area. Officials later said it may be a reference to an observation post set up by Chinese troops on the LAC’s Indian side which Indian soldiers had withdrawn.
• Colonel Santosh Babu, commanding officer of the 16th Bihar regiment, was killed in the clash.
• These were the first Indian casualties in the People’s Liberation Army border skirmish since October 1975, when Chinese troops ambushed the Indian patrol in the Tulung La sector of Arunachal Pradesh and shot four soldiers dead. This time, however, no shots had been fired.
• Hindustan Times learned to trade blows with rival soldiers, threw stones at each other, and even struck Indian soldiers with rods and nail-studded clubs by Chinese troops. The brawling continued for more than six hours.
• Defense Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on developments along the Control Line (LAC) on Tuesday evening and also held two meetings with Chief of Defense Officer General Bipin Rawat and the three Service Chiefs to assess the situation on the ground and to examine options.
• Pangong, which was at the center of the ongoing border scrap and where troops are still locked in a face-off, remains a tense situation.