In the continuing dispute between India China on LAC, Indian Army Colonel and two Other Soldiers of the Indian Army lost their lives during a violent face-off between troops in the Galwan area in Eastern Ladakh on Monday night.
“During the de-escalation process ongoing in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place Monday night with casualties on both sides. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers,” the Army said in a statement.
Senior military officials from the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation, the army said, signalling that the efforts to stablish the situation is still work in progress..
These are the first Indian casualties in a clash with the PLA since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Military commanders of the two armies, Major General Abhijit Bapat, commander of the Karu-based HQs 3 Infantry Division and his Chinese counterpart are holding talks at the site of the clash to defuse tensions.
All the deaths are from thrown stones and rods that were used by the soldiers, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. The army did not comment on this. However, this won’t be the first time the two armies have engaged in fisticuffs or used stones as missiles to attack each other in the area.
In Delhi, Defence Minister Rajnath singh reviewed the current operational situation after the clash on the LAC, along with the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar was also present. Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had cancelled his scheduled visit to Pathankot on Tuesday.
The encounter happened along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh where rival soldiers were caught in a standoff that began with a confrontation between rival patrols near Pangong Tso on the night of May 5-6.
The Indian Army is said to have suffered three casualties, including a colonel, in the sector on Monday, said one person familiar with the matter. Both sides suffered fatal casualties on Monday, claimed another person familiar with the matter. Both asked not to be named. The number of Chinese casualties wasn’t immediately known.
Mr. Zhao said, “We both agree to resolve this issue through dialogue and consultation and make efforts for easing the situation and upholding the peace and security along the border area.”
Former Northern Army commander Lt Gen DS Hooda (retd) flagged concerns about the “serious escalation” along the LAC saying that it reflected the heightened tensions on the ground. “This will require diplomatic intervention,” he said.
The talks took place at two locations along the LAC — brigadier-ranked officers met in the Galwan area and Colonel-ranked officers in Hot Springs — as part of continuing efforts to resolve the standoff.
Last week Army chief General Naravane said disengagement of Indian and Chinese forces was taking place in a “phased manner” along the LAC where the situation was “under control”.
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