By The Dispatch, Indian Express
Jammu: In his first remarks on the violent faceoff with Chinese troops in the Galwan valley of Ladakh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today (June 17) said the sacrifices of soldiers along the border “will not go in vain”. The Prime Minister has called for an all-party meeting at 5 p.m, on Friday, June 19 to discuss the situation along the India-China border. Presidents of various political parties are expected to take part in the virtual meeting, The Dispatch reported.
The Indian Army on Tuesday confirmed the death of 20 personnel in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan area, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The incident, which took place on Monday night, was the worst flare-up along the border in more than five decades. Officers told The Indian Express the clashes were triggered by an argument over the position of Chinese soldiers who were erecting a new post on the southern bank of Galwan river in a ‘buffer zone’ – a no-man’s land.
In the fight, some soldiers either fell or were pushed into the river, officers said. Some bodies were recovered from the river while others had signs of being brutalised. A few soldiers died of hypothermia. While the Army said there were casualties on both sides, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) did not comment on its losses.
Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held a phone conversation this over the violent face-off in the Galwan valley of Ladakh today, Indian Express reported.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “EAM conveyed the protest of the Government of India in the strongest terms” and that it will have a “serious impact” on the bilateral relationship.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today said the loss of soldiers in Galwan was “deeply disturbing and painful”. This was his first statement on the incident.
The last deaths at the LAC were in 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh. A violent clash between the two sides on the border had taken place at Nathu La in 1967.
Top: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: The Dispatch
Below: Army vehicles stop at a base camp in Leh in the cold desert region of Ladakh. Express File Photo: Shuaib Masoodi