Will we witness World War III? : 2 Soldiers Killed in Ladakh Face-Off, Casualties on both sides

An Indian Army officer and two soldiers were killed during a violent confrontation with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night.

This is the first time in the last 45 years that reflected massive escalation between India and China, who fought a brief border war in 1962. 

Army sources say that the fight did not involve any machinery but involved a physical fight on the Indian territory with stones and batons that cashed the death.

As per the army statement, “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”

“There was no firing. No firearms were used. It was violent hand-to-hand scuffles,” an unnamed officer was quoted by news agency Agence France Presse as saying.

The only information about Chinese casualties being harmed is reported by Hu Xijin, Editor-in-Chief of Global Times who tweeted saying, “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.”

China has accused India for stirring up trouble and ‘transgression’ of the Chinese border.

“Our border troops had a high-level meeting and reached important consensus on easing the border situation but astonishingly on June 15 the Indian troops seriously violated our consensus and twice crossed the border line for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel which led to serious physical conflict between the two sides and China has lodged strong protest and representation with the Indian side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

The spokesperson also added, “We once again solemnly ask the Indian side to follow our consensus, strictly regulate its front-line troops and do not cross the line, do not stir up troubles or make unilateral moves that may complicate matters.”

There has been a large buildup of Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley and certain other areas of eastern Ladakh for the last five weeks. 

Both countries have been engaged in a stand-off at least two locations along the Line of Actual Control — the 3,488 km de-facto boundary between India and China, and have rushed additional troops to the border. They have been facing each other at the Galwan River, which was one of the early triggers of the 1962 India-China war, and at the disputed Pangong Tso — a glacial lake at 14,000 feet in the Tibetan plateau, portions of which are claimed by both.

In their first serious efforts to end the row, Lt General Harinder Singh, the general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, and Commander of the Tibet Military District Major General Liu Lin held a nearly seven-hour meeting on 6 June.

The meeting was followed by two rounds of Major General-level talks. The Indian side has been pitching for restoration of status quo ante and immediate withdrawal of thousands of Chinese troops from the areas which India considers on its side of the LAC.

On Saturday, Gen Naravane said both sides are “disengaging” in a phased manner. “We have started from the north, from the area of the Galwan river where a lot of disengagement has taken place. It has been a very fruitful dialogue that we have had.”

According to sources in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, his scheduled meeting with Chief Ministers via video conferencing on COVID-19 will be held as planned. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed PM Modi on the situation at the border via video call after a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, the three military chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.

Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

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