China on Wednesday said that it does not want to see any more clashes with India, a day after soldiers from both the sides were killed during a confrontation in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, AFP reported.
The Indian Army on Tuesday had confirmed that 20 soldiers were killed during a de-escalation process in Galwan Valley. These are the first fatalities on the Line of Actual Control between the nuclear-armed neighbours in more than 40 years. Indian news agency ANI reported, citing “Indian intercepts”, that at least 43 Chinese soldiers were either killed or injured in the clash.
During a media briefing on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian repeated the accusation that Indian troops had crossed the border and attacked Chinese forces. Zhao claimed that India’s intrusion led to “a serious physical confrontation between both sides that caused deaths and injuries”. Beijing, meanwhile, has not yet confirmed the extent of casualties on its own side.
Zhao added that India and China will continue talks and negotiation to de-escalate tensions. “We, of course, don’t wish to see more clashes,” Zhao said. On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had also asked India to not take any unilateral actions that will complicate the situation at the border.
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India’s Ministry of External Affairs, on the other hand, has alleged that the face-off at Galwan Valley was due to China’s attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the area.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the border situation after the clash between India and China. Modi has been criticised for not firmly responding to the deaths of Indian soldiers.
Tensions between the two countries heightened in May after Chinese troops clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control.
The dispute between India and China centres around a strategic bridge being built near Daulat Beg Oldi, a military post south of the Karakoram Pass. China has reportedly asked India to stop building infrastructure even on its own side of the LAC. New Delhi, on the other hand, has asked Beijing to maintain the status quo on the border.
Earlier in May, there were reports of China pitching tents near river Galwan, which was also a flashpoint between New Delhi and Beijing during the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Both India and China had deployed additional security forces in the area amid heightened tensions.
US says “closely monitoring” situation
The United States on Wednesday said that is closely looking at the situation in eastern Ladakh after the violent clash between India and China, PTI reported.
“We are closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control,” a unidentified spokesperson from the US State Department was quoted as saying by the news agency. “We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families.”
The official added that US hopes India and China will peacefully resolve their conflict.