(Representative picture. Courtesy: National Herald)
New Delhi: An Indian army officer and two soldiers were killed in a "violent face-off" on Monday night with Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, in a massive escalation at a time there were efforts to defuse weeks of tension at the border. Senior military representatives of both sides are meeting currently, according to an official statement on Tuesday.
Army sources say the soldiers were not shot but were killed in hand-to-hand combat on Indian Territory.
The official statement said: "During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation."
Beijing has accused India of crossing the border, 'attacking Chinese personnel', reported news agency Agence France Presse. China's Foreign Ministry said it called on India to not take unilateral actions or stir up trouble, reported Reuters.
Indian and Chinese soldiers have been locked in a standoff for weeks at Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A significant number of Chinese army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control or the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso.
After weeks of face-off including an incident in which patrolling soldiers from the two sides came to blows on the banks of Pangong Lake, resulting in injuries, friction eased following talks. Indian and Chinese military commanders had been in talks in Galwan Valley area and Hot Springs.
The Chinese Army had earlier pulled back its troops from the Galwan valley, PP-15 and Hot Springs in Eastern Ladakh area. The Indian side also brought back some of its troops and vehicles from these areas.
China has been reportedly upset about the Indian construction of roads and air strips in the area.
Source: News Agencies
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