China on Tuesday said that reports that suggested it had lost over 40 soldiers in the clash along the Line of Actual Control in Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15 were “fake news”, the Hindustan Times reported. While 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the violence and 76 injured, China has not published its official number of casualties.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Indian and Chinese militaries held a meeting on June 22 to resolve the standoff on the border through talk. “China and India are in talks with each other to resolve this issue through diplomatic and military channels,” ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference in Beijing. “As for what you saw in the media, for example, some people alleged that casualties on the Chinese side amounted to 40, I can tell you for sure that this is fake news.”
While he denied this figure of 40 or more deaths, Zhao did not reveal the real number. On Monday, at the previous press conference, the spokesperson had claimed that he had no information on how many Chinese soldiers had died.
“On June 22, the border troops of China and India held the second military-level meeting in the border area, which was also the first military-level meeting after the incident of the Galwan Valley on June 15,” Zhao said about Monday’s meeting between troops of the two countries. “The holding of this meeting showed that the two sides hope to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, control the situation, and ease the situation.”
Union minister and former Indian Army chief General VK Singh had earlier claimed that China might have suffered double the number of casualties during the clash.
The Indian Army said earlier on Tuesday that there was a “mutual consensus to disengage” at the second round of Corps Commander level talks between India and China. The first round of Corps Commander talks was held on June 6, but the agreement was violated on June 15 during the “de-escalation” process, resulting in the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers in the worst violence on the border since 1975.
The nearly 11-hour-long meeting on Monday was held in a “cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere” and it was decided that modalities for disengagement from all areas in eastern Ladakh will be taken forward by both New Delhi and Beijing, Army officials said. “There was a mutual consensus to disengage.”
Last week, a controversy erupted after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured during the clashes with Chinese troops. However, a clarification issued by Modi’s office claimed that attempts were being made to give a “mischievous interpretation” to his remarks and said his comments referred to the situation at the Line of Actual Control after Indian soldiers had foiled China’s intrusion.