20 Indian Army Men Killed in Face-Off in Ladakh: Army
The incident comes amid tensions between India and China along the LAC in Ladakh.
In a a "violent face-off" that took place on Monday, 15 June night between India and China, at least 20 Indian soldiers have been killed.
Hours after the Indian Army said that a commanding officer and two soldiers had been killed, it confirmed that 17 more succumbed to their injuries.
The Army, in its late-night statement on Tuesday, said, "Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15-16 June. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the stand-off 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 Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured, ANI reported citing government sources. However, China has not yet given a number.
The Indian Army, earlier had said that the "violent face-off" killed one Commanding Officer and two soldiers at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
Meanwhile, China has accused India of crossing the border first on Monday night and again on Tuesday. Read more on China's response here.
In an only report about casualties on China side, the editor-in-chief of China's Global Times tweeted saying that the "Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash". Official number has not been released by China yet.
MEA Says 'China Violated Agreement'
After a meeting in the evening of Tuesday, between Army Chief General MM Naravane, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, MEA issued a statement on Indo-China face-off.
The ministry said that the casualties could have been avoided on both sides had China not changed the status quo unilaterally and followed the agreement at a higher level.
“On late-evening and night of 15 June, a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by Chinese side to unilaterally change status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had agreement at higher level been scrupulously followed by Chinese side.”Ministry of External Affairs
Earlier today too, Singh held a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, the three service chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar regarding the developments in Ladakh. However, an official statement was not shared after the meeting.
Rajnath Singh Held Meeting With CDS Rawat, Others
Soon after reports of clash emerged, in Tuesday afternoon, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, the three service chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar regarding the developments in Ladakh.
According to Indian Express, Singh had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the face-off last night.
Major generals of the two countries also held talks to defuse the situation in Galwan Valley and other areas, reported ANI.
‘Indian Troops Seriously Violated Consensus’: China
Beijing, on the other hand, has accused India of crossing the border and 'attacking Chinese personnel', reported news agency AFP.
Indian troops on Monday seriously violated the consensus of the two sides by illegally crossing the border twice and carrying out provocative attacks on Chinese soldiers, resulting in serious physical clashes, China's Global Times quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian as saying on the incident.
China has lodged solemn representations with the Indian side and urged it to strictly restrain its frontline troops from crossing the border or taking any unilateral action that may complicate the border situation, he said.
China and Indian side agreed to resolve the bilateral issues through dialogue to ease the border situation and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas, he reportedly added.
The face-off comes amid talks – both at the military as well as the diplomatic levels – between India and China on the border standoff in Ladakh, which emerged early in May.
On 13 June, Army Chief General MM Naravane had said everything was under control with respect to the country's border with China.
“I would like to assure everyone that the entire situation along our borders with China is under control. We are having a series of talks which started with Corps Commander-level talks, which were followed up with meetings at the local-level between commanders of equivalent ranks,” Naravane had told reporters on the sidelines of the Indian Military Academy’s Passing Out Parade.
After the meeting of military commanders of the two sides, on 6 June, both countries had also started to disengage troops in a few areas in eastern Ladakh, reports had said.
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