The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said that China’s claim over the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh was “exaggerated and untenable” and contrary to the agreement between New Delhi and Beijing to responsibly resolve tensions.
The government’s statement came after Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar’s first telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi since the month-long standoff between troops of the two countries along the Line of Actual Control began. The tensions between India and China have reached an all-time high after at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh.
“Both sides have agreed that the overall situation should be handled in a responsible manner and that the understandings reached between senior commanders on June 6 should be implemented sincerely,” foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement. “Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding.”
Tensions between India and China flared up in May after Chinese troops clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control. There were also 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.
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Colonel Zhang Shuili, the spokesperson for China’s People’s Liberation Army, was the first to claim that the Galwan Valley belonged to his country, according to Hindustan Times. His statement came soon after the Indian Army confirmed that there had been a clash between security forces on both the sides.
In his conversation with China’s foreign minister, Jaishankar had said that the violence in Galwan was a “pre-meditated and planned action” by the neighbouring country, which led to the violence. He added that the border situation would now be handled in a responsible manner and both sides would disengage.
At least 20 Indian soldiers, including a colonel, were killed in clashes at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday. Though some reports have said there around 40 Chinese soldiers died during these clashes, there is no official confirmation yet. According to reports, there was no shooting involved in the incident but “violent hand-to-hand scuffles”. The soldiers attacked each other with stones. Chinese troops hit Indian Indian soldiers with rods and clubs. The clash in Ladakh was the most violent incident between India and China in more than 40 years.