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20 Indian soldiers martyred in face-off with China in Eastern Ladakh: Indian Army

20 Indian soldiers martyred in face-off with China in Eastern Ladakh: Indian Army

| @indiablooms | 16 Jun 2020, 05:35 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: At least 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel, were martyred during a "violent face-off" with Chinese forces along the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the Indian Army confirmed. At least 43 Chinese soldiers died in the clashes, said a media report.

"Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 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 Indian Army said in a statement.

"The Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation," the Army said.   

Unconfirmed reports put the casualty on the Chinese side between 43 and 50.

India attributed the clashes "as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there."

UNI adds:

No firing had taken place during the face-off. ''The Indian troops were attacked by rods and stones,'' sources said.

The number of casualties suffered by the Indian Army revealed the extent and scale of the conflict, which has escalated over the past two days.

Meanwhile, high-level meetings in Defence establishments were held on Tuesday night. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to review the prevailing  situation in eastern Ladakh

"During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties," read a statement by the Indian Army earlier.

India has rebuffed China's claim that the Indian forces were attempting to cross the border.

"India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. We expect the same of the Chinese side," said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Shrivastava.

Colonel B Santosh Babu of the Bihar Regiment, Havildar Palani and Sepoy Ojha are three among the martyrs to have been confirmed by the army.

It is pertinent to mention here that the troops of two nuclear powers have been ranged against each other in the remote snow desert of Ladakh since April in the most serious border flare-ups in years after Chinese patrols advanced into Indian side of the de facto border.

The violent face-off prompted India Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to hold a high level review meeting in which the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishanker and three service chiefs were present.

The Defence Minister also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the operational situation prevailing at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh, reports UNI.

Opposition Reacts:

India's main opposition party, the Congress, meanwhile demanded that the central government should take some stringent measures and stand up against such incursions.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh tweeted, "The happening in the #Galwanvalley is a continuation of violations by China. It is time now that the country stands up to these incursions. Our soldiers are not fair game that every few days officers and men are being killed and injured defending our borders."

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidmabaram slammed PM Narendra Modi over his silence and said: "The PM has maintained a worrying silence since May 5. Can you imagine any other Head of Government not saying a word for 7 weeks since the intrusion of foreign troops into a country?"

Later he wrote: "We have seen the official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs that says nothing new after the news broke out at 12.52 pm today thanks to an Army WhatsApp group."

China Reacts:

The Chinese side has lodged a strong protest and solemn representation to India.

“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,” Chinese foreign ministry was quoted saying by Global Times, run by the ruling Communist Party of China.

The Chinese military suffered casualties too, according to the editor-in-chief of  Global Times.

"Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.," Hu Xijin said in a tweet.

India-China engaged in tough conflict in recent times:

India and China have been engaged in a stand-off for over a month, after China advanced its troops along the LAC and transgressed it at multiple locations in Eastern Ladakh.

Following the standoff in eastern Ladakh, the two sides have deployed additional troops along the LAC, the de-facto Sino-India border, in North Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.

Both sides held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the row.

Aiming to resolve the impasse, Leh-based 14 Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military Region Commander Maj Gen Liu Lin held a six-hour meeting on June 6.

The meeting was followed by Major General-level talks on Wednesday and Friday.

Last week in Dehradun, Army Chief General MM Naravane had said that the situation along the LAC was under control.

Death of an Indian soldier in past:

The last time when the deaths on the India-China border occurred was in 1975 when the Indian patrol was ambushed by the Chinese soldiers on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh.


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