The foreign minister of China Wang Yi held telephone talks Wednesday with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, over a bloody border clash that left 20 Indian soldiers killed
The Chinese foreign ministry said that both sides agreed to "cool down the situation on the ground as soon as possible, and maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas in accordance with the agreement reached so far between both countries."
However, India Wednesday accused China of "pre-meditated and planned" action that resulted in the deaths of its soldiers. The "Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan Valley on our side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control)," India's foreign affairs ministry said in a statement Wednesday. "It reflected an intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements."
A Chinese government statement, meanwhile, said Foreign Minister Wang Yi had told his Indian counterpart that India must punish the soldiers responsible for the clash.
Indian forces "crossed the Line of Actual Control again and deliberately provoked violence, attacking the officers and soldiers" (this) led to fierce physical clashes, resulting in casualties," the Chinese official said. "We urge the Indian side to conduct a thorough investigation on this, severely punish those responsible for the incident, strictly control the frontline troops."
Hand to hand fight
Indian media outlets have published details of the high-altitude hand-to-hand combat, citing unnamed government sources, saying the two sides came face-to-face on a narrow ridge pass in the middle of the night. As a fight broke out, some soldiers were pushed off the cliff and fell to their deaths.
The soldiers reportedly brawled with stones, clubs, iron rods, and even sticks pierced with nails. The fight lasted for about six hours in total darkness, the reports said. According to Pravin Sawhny, an Indian defense expert, three Indian soldiers died on the spot while 16 soldiers and a Colonel rank officer died because they could not get medical treatment. He said the Chinese side was fully prepared for this confrontation while Indian side was not prepared. Even the soldiers deployed there apparently had no proper training to operate in the harsh climate at around 18,000 feet height. Pravin Sawhny also said that the Indian soldiers did not have any defense weapons for which the Indian military high command is responsible.
"Closely Monitoring" India-China Border Clash In Ladakh: US
The US is "closely monitoring" the situation following a fierce clash between Indian and Chinese forces in eastern Ladakh, and hopes that the differences will be resolved peacefully, Press Trust of India quoted a senior State Department official as saying.
"We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families," the official said.
Both India and China have expressed their desires to de-escalate and the US supports a peaceful resolution of the current situation, the spokesperson said.
"During their phone call on June 2, 2020, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed the situation along the India-China border," the official added.
"We are still learning the details of a violent clash last night between the militaries of India and China along their border," PTI quoted US Senator Marsha Blackburn as saying.
"The People's Liberation Army's aggressive maneuvers in India and Nepal affect the stability of the entire region and point to the increased militarization of the Tibetan plateau, which China has ruled with an iron fist for decades," Blackburn said.
Russia welcomes China-India contacts aimed at de-escalation
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