The violent face-off of Indian soldiers with Chinese troops at eastern Ladakh on Monday evening have put four Indian soldiers in critical condition. Yesterday, the army confirmed that 20 soldiers were killed in the fight at Galwan Valley in Ladakh. News agency ANI has reported that 43 Chinese soldiers and the Chinese Commanding Officer have died during the clashes.
The death of a Colonel and two jawans came on Tuesday morning in an army statement where they mentioned “casualties on both sites.” Last evening, in an another state the army added that 17 more critically injured “exposed to sub-zero temperatures… (and) succumbed to their injuries”.
According to reports, the incident involved no shooting but “violent hand-to-hand scuffles”. The fight lasted for hours until midnight on Monday. During the confrontation, the Chinese troops allegedly used rods and nail-stubbed clubs. Both the soldiers threw punches and stones at each other.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Shrivastava said, “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.”
Late last night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high profile meeting regarding the issue. Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army Chief General MM Naravane attended the meeting at around 10 pm.
The Chinese foreign ministry also informed about the clashes and said there had been a serious violation of a consensus reached by the two countries. Zhao Lijian told reporters, “Indian soldiers twice crossed the border line and provoked and attacked the Chinese forces, causing a violent physical confrontation between the two border forces.”
According to ministry experts, a possible reason of the fight is India’s construction of roads and airfields to improve connectivity and narrow the gap with China’s infrastructure. China earlier complained about India’s road leading to an airfield to which India answered it was operating on its side of the Line of Actual Control.