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All you need to know about the India-China face-off

After 1975, this is the first violent incident on the India-China border in which casualties have taken place

Topics
India-China | India-China relations | Indian Army

Sukanya Roy  |  New Delhi 

A commanding officer of and two soldiers were killed in Galwan Valley in eastern on Monday night. This was during a violent face off between Indian and Chinese soldiers, the Army said in a brief statement.

When did it all start?

From the third week of April, over 5,000 Chinese soldiers have intruded at five points in India's These are Chumar, Demchok, Pangong and two places near DBO.The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ingress into the Galwan River valley opens up a new and worrying chapter.

On May 5, around 250 soldiers of Indian and Chinese army personnel were engaged in a face-off along the northern bank of the Pangong Lake and even resorted to stone-pelting. For the past five weeks, several Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in Galwan Valley.

After 1975, this is the first violent incident on the border in which casualties have taken place. It comes days after Chief, General M M Naravane said both sides have begun disengaging from Galwan Valley.

Line of Actual Control

Galwan Valley is one of the four standoff points in the eastern sector.

The border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries.

Well, patrol intrusions from both sides are routine in areas where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is disputed, the in the Galwan Valley corresponds to China’s official claim line.This means, in sending thousands of the PLA troops three-to-four kilometres into the Galwan Valley, China has violated its own claim line and occupied territory that Beijing has traditionally acknowledged to be Indian.

Why are the two sides clashing?

The face-off is believed to be in reaction to India steadily building infrastructure in Ladakh and the increase in local civilian activity on the Indian side of For China, this is an irritant because India is rapidly narrowing down the infrastructure gap in Ladakh. While India has not obstructed in any manner the activities of the Chinese on their side of the LAC, whether it is putting up of the pre-fabricated structures or an increase in their patrolling.

The Chinese patrol units have been aggressive in expressing their displeasure to the activity on the DBO road. This has manifested in their activity in Galwan sector, Pangong lake and other strategic areas.

However, there is little clarity within the government about why the Chinese have triggered this intrusion. Some officials speculate that Beijing is punishing New Delhi for publishing a revised map of the former state of Jammu & Kashmir in November, which showed Aksai Chin — which both countries claim, but China occupies — as a part of India.

Another viewpoint holds that the traditionally peaceful Galwan River has now become a hotspot because it is where the is closest to the new road India has built along the Shyok River to Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO) — the most remote and vulnerable area along the LAC in Ladakh.

What is India saying officially?

Indian Army in a statement said that during the de-escalation process which is underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place on Monday night with "casualties suffered on both sides." "The loss of lives on the Indian side includes An Indian Army Colonel, the Commanding Officer of an infantry battalion, and two soldiers," Indian Army said.

The statement read that Major Generals of India and China are currently engaged in a meeting at the face-off site to defuse the situation.

On Monday, Brigade Commander and company level talks happened in Eastern Ladakh between India and China. The talks are happening near patrolling point 14, near the mouth of Galwan Valley and patrolling point 17 at Hot Spring Area.

Earlier looking to resolve the dispute over Chinese military buildup, India and China were holding talks in Eastern Ladakh. Army sources had said there has been disengagement between Indian and Chinese troops at more locations where they had been in standoff positions for last many weeks now.

Defence Minister held a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, the three service chiefs and External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar over the recent developments in Eastern Ladakh on Tuesday.

Army Chief General MM Naravane’s planned visit to Pathankot military station has been cancelled: Army Sources

Now, what China is saying?

Today, China alleged that the Indian troops twice crossed the border line on June 15 for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel which led to serious physical conflict between the two sides, contesting the Indian Army's position that the violent face-off took place between the troops during the "de-escalation process" in the Galwan Valley.

"I am not aware of the information you provided," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing when asked about the reports of the Indian casualties at the contested borders.

"Our border troops had a high-level meeting and reached important consensus on easing the border situation but astonishingly on June 15 the Indian troops seriously violated our consensus and twice crossed the border line for illegal activities" Zhao said.

However, China's Global Times quotes their Foreign Minister, who said that China and Indian side agreed to resolve the bilateral issues through dialogue to ease the border situation and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas.

Meanwhile, an earthquake of magnitude 5.8 hit Jammu and Kashmir in the early hours of Tuesday, officials said, the third to hit the union territory in three days.

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First Published: Tue, June 16 2020. 19:43 IST
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