Daily US Times: China has made its first official statement on Monday’s deadly clash with Indian soldiers at a disputed Himalayan border in Galwan Valley. It accused Indian troops of a “deliberate provocation”.
Lijian Zhao, the foreign ministry spokesman, said the troops had crossed into Chinese territory and attacked, triggering “fierce physical conflicts”, but he did not give details of any Chinese casualties.
Indian PM Narendra Modi said on Friday that no foreign soldiers had crossed India’s borders and no territory had been lost.
Mr Modi vowed that India would defend its border with military force if needed.
Indian army confirmed twenty of its soldiers were killed in the clash in the Galwan Valley. India has said that both sides suffered losses during the fighting.
What is China’s version of events?
Mr Zhao said in a series of tweets that the Galwan Valley was on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the poorly demarcated border between the two nuclear-armed powers.
The clash occurred at a time when tension had been easing after India demolished infrastructure it had built on the Chinese side of the LAC in May and withdrew personnel, following an agreement between Chinese and Indian officers, he said.
But Indian troops once again crossed the Line of Actual Control on 15 June, which according to Mr Zhao ”for deliberate provocation when the situation in the Galwan Valley was already easing”.
He said: “India’s front-line troops even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties.”
Mr Zhao said India has been building “roads, bridges and other facilities” at the LAC in Galwan Valley since April.
First deaths in four decades
In recent weeks, the two nations have brawled along the disputed border, but Monday’s clash was the first to lead to fatalities in at least 45 years.
Indian army at first confirmed the death of three soldiers, but later on Tuesday, it said a further 17 troops “who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries.”
A statement from the Indian army says there was loss of life “on both sides,” but it did not specify any number of casualties in China’s side. The statement says senior military officials from both sides are currently meeting to defuse the situation.
On Tuesday, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said: “India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh.”
During a “productive meeting” on Saturday, June 6, senior commanders had “agreed on a process for such de-escalation”, the spokesperson said, and ground commanders had met regarding the implementation.
The Indian spokesperson said their expectation was this to unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.
“Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” he added.