By Vanshika Thakur
On the disputed border, the Indian army has said, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off with Chinese forces in a major escalation of a week-long standoff in the western Himalayas.
In a statement the army said on Tuesday that, in addition to an officer and two soldiers who had died earlier, 17 “critically injured” Indian troops succumbed to their wounds.
The troops died “at the stand-off position in line of duty and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain … taking to 20 the number that was killed in combat,” the statement said.
The statement said that Indian and Chinese troops disengaged in the areas where the clashes took place, adding that India is strongly committed to “protecting the nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
The incident marks the deadliest conflict in decades between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Tensions flare over their 3,500-kilometer (2,200-mile) frontier, which has never been properly demarcated, on a fairly regular basis between the two regional powers.
Indian officials say Chinese soldiers crossed the frontier at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts and ignoring verbal warnings to leave. That triggered shouting matches, fistfights and stone-throwing.
Meanwhile, according to a report by the AFP news agency, China has accused India of crossing a “disputed border” between the two countries.