In a chilling development, it has emerged that the Chinese army killed at least 20 Indian soldiers in a face-off in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh. Earlier this number was being described at three including an officer.
Quoting sources, pro-government news agency ANI reported, “At least 20 Indian soldiers killed in the violent face-off with China in Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh. Casualty numbers could rise.” ANI also claimed that more than 43 Chinese soldiers had also been either killed or injured.
News agency PTI described the number to be 10.
Reacting to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, the ministry of external affairs said that the ‘violent face-off’ was as a result of ‘an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo’.’
“Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,’” Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.
Earlier, the Indian army had said in a statement that both sides were holding a meeting in Galwan Valley to defuse tension. A statement by the army had said, “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place on Monday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers.”
The three killed earlier were described as Colonel B Santosh Babu from Telangana, Havildar Palani from Tamil Nadu and Sepoy Ojha from Jharkhand.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had recently confessed to the presence of the Chinese forces inside India, but the government later issued a denial saying that his statement had been misunderstood.