Washington, DC – The United States on Tuesday expressed condolences to the news of the deaths of Indian soldiers, killed in a clash with Chinese forces in a disputed Himalayan border area.
The US State Department spokesperson said in a statement, “We are closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control. We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families.”
“Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate, and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation. During their phone call on June 2, 2020, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi discussed the situation on the India-China border,” the statement on background to IAT added.
Earlier Indian officials had announced that at least 20 Indian soldiers had died in the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years.
India’s External Affairs Ministry accused China of breaking an agreement struck the previous week to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.
China did not confirm any casualties, but accused India in turn of crossing the border onto the Chinese side.
It was unclear how a clash without exchange of fire proved so lethal as both sides insisted no bullet has been fired in four decades, and the Indian army said on Tuesday that “no shots were fired” in this latest skirmish. Local media outlets reported that the Indian soldiers had been “beaten to death”.
India is now facing fresh tensions with China as the two nuclear armed neighbours have a history of face-offs and overlapping territorial claims along the more than two thousand miles of mountainous region border. On the other hand, India is having continuous disputes with its other nuclear-powered neighbor Pakistan, and fresh diplomatic rows with Nepal in the Himalayan region.