Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 17, 2020
China has accused India of provoking and attacking Chinese personnel during the de-escalation process and this resulted in heated confrontation between the border forces of both countries. India hasn’t denied nor confirmed this. Why is New Delhi silent?
The Indian Army has confirmed that it lost 20 soldiers in a heated clash with Chinese troops near the disputed border in Ladakh. However, there could be more as both sides suffered casualties. A violent face-off occurred in the wee hours of late Monday night and early Tuesday morning along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.
In a statement late on Tuesday night, the Indian Army said 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain succumbed to their injuries. Mourning the loss of soldiers, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described it as deeply disturbing and painful. He said the soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. “The nation will never forget their bravery and sacrifice,” Singh said. “My heart goes out to the families of the fallen soldiers. The nation stands shoulder to shoulder with them in this difficult hour.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the nation that ‘the sacrifice of our jawaans will not be in vain’. “For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important. India wants respect but it ‘is capable to give a befitting reply’ if instigated,” he said.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has accused the Indian side of reneging on their commitments and seriously violating agreements and protocols on border issues between the two countries. Last week, both nations had agreed to a de-escalation and disengagement process was underway when the situation suddenly took a u-turn.
India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the violent face-off took place after the Chinese side ‘departed from the consensus to respect the LAC’ and attempted to ‘unilaterally change the status quo’. However, he didn’t elaborate how the Chinese troops had tried to do so.