The Indian army said Tuesday that at least three of its soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops along the disputed border in the Himalayan mountains on Monday, the first deadly confrontation between the two powers since 1975.
The Indian army said in a statement that a “violent faceoff” took place in Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region on Monday night, “with casualties on both sides.” Galwan Valley is home to a new road that India is building to connect the region to an airstrip close to China — a source of heightening tensions.
“The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers,” the statement said. “Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.” A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, mentioned no casualties on either side but stated that “serious physical conflicts” occurred.
“The Indian troops seriously violated the consensus of the two sides, crossed the border illegally twice and carried out provocative attacks on Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical conflicts between the two border forces,” Zhao said, adding that China is committed to “peace and tranquility” at the border.
Indian sources told The Associated Press that fistfights and stone-throwing broke out, leading to casualties. But they maintained that no shots were fired by either side.
Since early May, thousands of Indian and Chinese forces have been moved to the “Line of Actual Control,” a border over 2,000 miles long that roughly demarcates the border between China and India.