India has cautioned China against making “exaggerated and untenable claims” on the sovereignty of the Galwan Valley area even as both nations tried to end a standoff in the high Himalayan region where their armies engaged in a deadly clash.
Twenty Indian troops were killed in the confrontation on Monday night – the deadliest conflict between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbours in 45 years. China has not disclosed whether its forces suffered any casualties.
Responding to China’s claim to the valley, India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava late on Wednesday said both sides have agreed to handle the situation responsibly.
“Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding,” he said in a statement.
Both sides accuse each other of instigating the Monday night clash between their forces in the Galwan Valley, part of a disputed region in Indian-administered Ladakh territory.
Media reports said senior army officers of the two sides are expected to meet on Thursday to defuse the situation, but there was no confirmation from either side.
Indian security forces said neither side fired any shots, instead throwing rocks and trading blows. The Indian soldiers, including a colonel, died of severe injuries and exposure in the area’s sub-zero temperatures, officials said.
The clash escalated a standoff in the disputed region that began in early May, when Indian officials said Chinese soldiers crossed the boundary at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts and ignoring warnings to leave.
That triggered shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights, much of it replayed on television news channels and social media.