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New Delhi, June 16, 2020
Twenty Indian Army men, including officers, were killed in an unprecedented violent clash with Chinese People's Liberation Army troops at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the Indian Army said on Tuesday.
Sources said that the death toll is likely to go up as many soldiers have been brutally injured.
Indian Army issued a statement on Tuesday night wherein it said, "17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20."
The force further stated that Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged in the Galwan area where they had earlier "clashed on the night of June 15 and June 16, 2020."
The force further stated that Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan Valley at the Line of Actual Control with Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers attacking a small group of Indian Army men on patrol, resulting in fatalities which included the commanding officer of the Indian Army unit.
The intensity of the fight increased with reinforcements from the both sides and it continued until late night till the time they got exhausted. Many Indian soldiers went missing during the fight. Early on Tuesday morning, both Indian and Chinese top military officials rushed and called for a meeting to defuse the situation.
These are the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the People's Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Earlier in the day, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the prevailing situation in Eastern Ladakh.
Singh met Modi after he held a meeting with External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and the three service chiefs in the South Block here to review the situation.
Singh asked the service chiefs to explain the current situation in Galwan Valley and what course of action could be taken from hereafter diplomatically.
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane was to visit Kashmir on Tuesday morning but following Monday night's developments at the LAC, it was cancelled.
Sources in Indian Army stated: "The Defence Minister reviewed the current operational situation in Eastern Ladakh, consequent to Monday's violent faceoff on the Line of Actual Control along with the Chief of Defence Staff and the three service chiefs. The External Affairs Minister was also present during the meeting."
It is yet to be ascertained as to how many Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, but the MEA spokesperson has stated that "both sides suffered casualties".
On Monday, Brigade Commander and company level talks happened in Eastern Ladakh between India and China. The talks were happening near patrolling point 14 near the mouth of Galwan Valley and patrolling point 17 in the Hot Springs area.