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New Delhi, June 16, 2020
Three Indian Army men, including an officer, were killed on Monday night during a "violent face-off" with Chinese People's Liberation Army troops at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, official sources said.
Reports reaching here indicated that the Chinese side also suffered casualties in the clash, but no numbers were given by Beijing.
"On the late evening and night of 15th June, 2020 a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side," the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said in response to media queries on the incident.
The Indian Army had said earlier that the incident had occurred during the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley.
"The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers," it said.
The Army further stated that senior military officials of both the countries were meeting at the face-off site to defuse the situation.
On Monday, Brigade Commander and company-level talks happened in Eastern Ladakh between India and China.
The talks are happening near patrolling point 14, near the mouth of Galwan Valley and patrolling point 17 at Hot Spring Area.
Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said the two countries had been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh.
"Senior Commanders had a productive meeting on 6th June 2020 and 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 (LAC) in the Galwan Valley," he 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.
"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. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Srivastava added.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a second meeting with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Bipin Rawat and Indian Army chief, Gen. M.M. Naravane at his residence on Tuesday over the volatile situation in eastern Ladakh.
Before the second round of meetings, Rajnath Singh had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the prevailing situation in Ladakh.
Earlier in the day, he held a meeting with Jaishankar, General Rawat and three service chiefs at his South Block office to review the current situation.
These are the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the Chinese troops since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Rajnath Singh had asked the service chiefs to explain the current situation at the Galwan Valley and also what course of action can be taken hereafter.
Gen Naravane was to visit Kashmir on Tuesday morning but following the Monday night's developments, his journey was cancelled.
An army source said: "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."