20 Indian and 43 Chinese soldiers die in clashes along Himalayan border
The bare hand battle occurred in the Galwan Valley, on the border between Indian Ladakh and Chinese Aksai Chin. Indian media: the commander of Chinese troops in the area is among the dead. The border crisis started in early May. Over the past 45 years the two armies have often clashed, but without casualties.
Delhi (AsiaNews) - The number of victims from clashes on the Himalayan border between India and China has risen to 20 Indian and 43 Chinese soldiers. On the evening of June 15, troops from the two countries clashed in the Galwan Valley, along the temporary border (Line of Actual Control, LAC) that divides Indian Ladakh from the Chinese region of Aksai Chin.
Early reports spoke of three Indian military personnel who died. The other 17 died from the injuries sustained, aggravated by the low temperatures recorded in the area. Beijing confirms that it has suffered losses, without providing figures. Indian media report that the local commander of Chinese troops is among the fallen.
The Indian government said the two sides faced each other with bare hands with sticks and stones, without the aid of firearms. Delhi and Beijing accuse each other of having crossed the LAC, occupying portions of disputed territory.
In recent days, the leaders of the two countries had found an agreement to reduce tensions along the border. According to press reports, India and China have massed thousands of soldiers near the Galwan Valley and the Indian state of Sikkim since early May. Beijing allegedly sent its troops in response to India's construction of a road along the border between Ladakh and Aksai Chin.
The two countries share a 3488 km border in the impervious Himalayan region, for which they fought a short but bloody conflict in 1962. Delhi claims large areas of Aksai Chin (which the Chinese obtained from Pakistan); Beijing makes claims about the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. In the past 45 years the two armed forces have faced each other several times, without causing victims. The latest crisis occurred in 2017, when the Chinese began building a road in the Doklam plateau, an area on the border with Sikkim controlled by China but claimed by Bhutan, a close ally of Delhi.