Tension escalated after a violent face-off was seen between the armies of India and China in eastern Ladakh as the result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo in the region.
The Ministry of External Affairs said both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement arrived at earlier at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers have died in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, the Indian Army said in a statement. The face-off has escalated the already volatile border standoff between the two sides. This is also the highest number of fatalities in decades.
The MEA said India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in eastern Ladakh, and senior commanders had a productive meeting on June 6.
It said both sides agreed on a process for such de-escalation.”Subsequently, ground commanders had a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached at a higher level. While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley,” the MEA said
“Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the same of the Chinese side,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
“We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue,” Srivastava said.”At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
China’s official media: Indian troops violated agreements
China’s official media quoted the Chinese military as claiming that it “always” owned sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region and alleged that “provocative attacks’ launched by the Indian troops resulted in “severe clashes and casualties.”
In its first reaction on Monday’s clashes between the two militaries at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh, a statement quoting the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theatre Command Spokesperson Colonel Zhang Shuili said, “China always owns sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region.”
The Indian border defence troops are “inconsistent with their words and seriously violated” the agreements both countries have reached, the consensus made during the army commander-level talks and harmed the relations of the two militaries and the feelings of the two countries’ peoples, the Global Times quoted him as saying.
Opposition questions PM Modi’s ‘silence’
Opposition parties questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh and asked them to take the nation into confidence on the matter, while the ruling BJP asserted that India’s borders will remain intact under Modi’s leadership.
The Congress termed the death of the Indian Army officer and two soldiers in the LAC face-off with China as “deeply shocking, horrifying and unacceptable” and demanded answers from Prime Minister Modi on how this happened.The party also demanded that the government take the nation into confidence and convene a meeting to brief the leadership of political parties about the ground situation.
Alert issued in HP’s Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts
The Himachal Pradesh Police has issued an alert in Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts, which border China.State police spokesperson Khushal Sharma said an alert and an advisory have been issued to Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts to take all precautionary measures to ensure security of local population and also to collect intelligence so as to plan the future course of action.