A soldier of Tibetan origin with India's special forces has reportedly been killed in the latest border confrontation between India and China on their contested Himalayan border, fuelling concerns of a wider military confrontation between the two nuclear powers.
India has not commented on the reports of the death, but a member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, told AFP on Tuesday that the Tibetan-origin soldier was "martyred during the clash". She did not identify the soldier by name.
She said another member of the Special Frontier Force, which includes many ethnic Tibetans, was wounded in the operation.
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, said on Wednesday that no Indian troops had died in the latest flare-up on their frontier.
The world's two most populous countries have sent tens of thousands of troops to the region since a brutal June 15 battle fought with wooden clubs and fists.
The death sparks concerns of a wider military confrontation between the two neighbors. It comes two months after a battle that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, when a physical fight broke out between the two sides with soldiers using batons and throwing stones at each other.
India and China fought a war in 1962 over their competing territorial claims, and they have been unable to agree a permanent border along their frontier. The two nuclear neighbors have been locked in a standoff for months with both accusing each other of trespassing into the other's territory.
Earlier, India's defense ministry said Chinese troops "carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo" at the border on Saturday.
Indian media reports, quoting military sources, said PLA forces tried to take hilltops traditionally claimed by India around Pangong Tso, a lake at an altitude of 4,200 metres (13,800 feet).
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) said that India was "seriously violating China's territorial sovereignty" with its operation on Monday and demanded that Indian troops withdraw.
A Chinese embassy spokeswoman in New Delhi also denied that Chinese troops started the latest flare-up, accusing Indian troops of trespassing across the Line of Actual Control - the de facto border - and conducting "flagrant provocations".
In a statement on Tuesday, a United States Department of State spokesperson said Washington was closely monitoring the border dispute between India and China and it hoped for a peaceful resolution.
Amid calls for boycotts of Chinese goods, India has stepped up economic pressure on China since the June battle and repeatedly warned that relations would suffer unless its troops pull back.
India has banned at least 49 Chinese owned-apps, including the TikTok video platform, frozen Chinese firms out of contracts and held up Chinese goods at customs posts.
Indian troops first to cross LAC: Global Times
Official Chinese paper the Global Times Wednesday published a report saying that India is blaming China for Line of Actual Control (LAC) violation to divert public attention from its government's failure to improve the economy and contain COVID-19
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