FIVE Chinese soldiers were killed and 11 injured during violent clashes at the China-India border, which has sparked fears of World War 3.
There were losses on both sides of the battle as one of the Indian army’s officers and two soldiers were killed in a “violent faceoff” at Galwan Valley, one of the four clash points in the eastern Ladakh sector. These are the first reported casualties in decades to result from a clash between the nuclear-armed Asian giants. China has not yet confirmed the deaths or numbers of injured. India’s army said on Tuesday senior military officials from both sides were meeting in a desperate bid to calm tensions.
The Indian army statement said: “Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”
Talks to pull back hundreds of troops deployed in the remote region have been held over the last ten days but no breakthrough had emerged.
Indian government sources said no shots were fired but a physical fight broke out between the two sides with soldiers using batons and throwing stones, which resulted in the casualties.
The Indian army confirmed there had been an incident on Monday and both sides had suffered casualties.
The army said: “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides.
“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.”
Sources said the officer who died was a colonel rank.
But mystery surrounds the situation after Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday he was not aware of any incident on the border with India after the Indian army.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times newspaper tweeted: “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash.”
He then sent a chilling warning to India, adding:”I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.”
The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Responding to the news retired US Army colonel Lawrence Sellin tweeted telling China not to push India.
He said: “China – Don’t mess with India. Despite the tragic Indian losses, the Indian Army deliveries punishing casualties on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army aggressors.”
While Kashmir journalist, Aditya Raj Kaul posted: “Unofficial reports say China has lost 4-5 People’s Liberation Army soldiers after their violent provocation yesterday in Eastern Ladakh.
“Considering they’ve been hiding their #COVID19 cases and deaths, one can imagine the manipulation in the casualties they faced in border clash.”
He added: “Casualties sadly could increase in Ladakh. Still a very fluid situation since some soldiers are seriously injured. Waiting for more official updates.”
The two sides have been locked in a standoff in the Galwan valley in western Himalayas for weeks with both accusing each other of trespassing into the other’s territory.
India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 and have not been unable to settle their border dispute despite talks spread over two decades.
Border guards have had skirmishes, even fist fights when patrols have confronted each other, but there has been no loss of life for more than 30 years.