China has accused India of a “deliberate provocation”, saying Indian troops had crossed into its territory before a deadly brawl this week in a tense Himalayan area.
The fighting happened in the Galwan Valley which Beijing said was on its side of the Line of Actual Control – a disputed border that divides the two nuclear powers.
In what was called a “violent face-off”, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and more than 70 injured in the violence on Monday, but China has not said whether it suffered any casualties.
Image: Indian activists hold posters and effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping during an anti-China protest
Troops fought at high altitude with nail-studded clubs, rocks and even their fists in the deadliest confrontation between the countries in 45 years.
No one was shot as soldiers are not allowed to use firearms under a previous agreement in the border dispute.
Indian security officials said the fatalities were caused by severe injuries and exposure to subfreezing temperatures.
India has blamed China for instigating the fighting by developing infrastructure in the valley just across the Line of Actual Control.
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But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has accused Indian troops of a “deliberate provocation” by crossing the line and attacking soldiers who were there for negotiation.
Mr Zhao insisted the valley was on the Chinese side, and he claimed that since April Indian people had unilaterally built roads, bridges and other facilities in the region.
However, India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava denied any violation of the line, and said the claims by the Chinese side were “not acceptable”.
Image: The border between India and China has been long disputed
Troops remain locked in a stand-off at several locations along the poorly defined line, despite talks between local commanders to de-escalate.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday appeared to downplay the clash with Chinese troops, saying: “Nobody has intruded into our border, neither is anybody there now, nor have our posts been captured.”
The valley is located in a remote part of the 2,100-mile line which was established following a war between the two nations in 1962 that resulted in an uneasy truce.
Source : Sky News