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India reports 20 soldiers killed in border disputes with China

20 Indian soldiers have been killed in a border dispute between China and India in the Himalayan region.

This violent clash follows escalating tensions between the two countries and has resulted in the first loss of life in the border region since 1975 and the worst military crisis between the countries in almost 60 years.

Responding to the escalating violence, India’s army has reported that:

“senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation” and that they were “firmly committed to protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.”

According to the Guardian, violence broke out after an Indian patrol “unexpectedly encountered Chinese forces on a narrow ridge while on a patrol”. The commanding officer was pushed into a river gorge, which in turn led to reinforcements being called and up to 600 troops from both countries fighting hand-to-hand. These soldiers used stones and iron rods as they did not carry guns.

Tensions between India and China have escalated since late April after Chinese troops marched into disputed territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). These troops established camps and brought in weaponry and vehicles, catching Indian forces off-guard. Chinese troops ignored repeated warnings to withdraw however on 6 June, India and China reached a mutual agreement to disengage.

Despite this, Chinese troops have still not fully withdrawn from areas of the disputed territory such as the Galwan Valley

Both sides have accused each other of breaching the control line and launching provocative attacks.

Zhang Shuli, the Chinese army’s commander in the western theatre, has released a statement which states:

“We call on the Indian side to restrict its frontline soldiers, immediately stop all infringement of rights and provocative actions against China and return to using dialogue to resolve disputes,”

Read more from the Guardian.