The Indian army announced on Tuesday June 16 that at least three of its soldiers had died in a “Violent confrontation” with the Chinese army on the disputed border in Ladakh, in the north of India – source of strong military tensions since May between the two Asian giants. China has accused India of being responsible for the incident by crossing the disputed border twice, but has not publicly reported any deaths.
Troops of the two powers have been engaged since the beginning of May in several face-to-face meetings stretched along their common border, mainly in the high altitude region of Ladakh. A crisis that both parties say they want “Resolve peacefully” through diplomatic channels.
But on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijia, reported that “Indian troops [avaient] severely violated, on June 15, the bilateral consensus and crossed the border twice, before engaging in illegal activities and provoking and attacking Chinese soldiers, resulting in a serious physical confrontation “.
For his part, a spokesman for the Indian army spoke of a “Violent confrontation” while a “De-escalation process” was “Underway in the Galwan Valley”. This confrontation has “Makes victims on both sides”, according to him. “The loss of life on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. “ High ranking officers from both sides are currently talking on the spot to defuse the situation, according to the Indian army press release.
Long-standing territorial disputes
Following talks between generals of the two armies, about ten days ago, a process of military disengagement had been agreed in some of the disputed areas in Ladakh. “China and India Agree to Continue Solving Bilateral Problems Through Dialogue and Consultation”, said the Chinese spokesman. “We are calling India again (…) to master his border troops “, he added. “Don’t cross the border, don’t cause trouble”, launched Zhao Lijia.
In early May, clashes with fists, stones and sticks had notably opposed soldiers from the two countries in the Sikkim region (east of India). The clashes had left several injured. Chinese troops had also advanced into areas considered by India to be on its territory in Ladakh, prompting New Delhi to dispatch reinforcements to the region.
India and China have had longstanding territorial disputes in the areas of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh (east). The last open conflict between the two most populous nations on the planet dates back to the 1962 Flash War in the Himalayas, which saw Indian troops quickly defeated by the Chinese military.