Indian soldiers killed in clashes with China in the Himalayas

Indian soldiers killed in clashes with China in the Himalayas
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Indian and Chinese officials confirmed that troops from their countries engaged in a violent confrontation Monday at the border between the nations, resulting in at least 20 deaths.

A statement from India's armed forces obtained by CNN and The Associated Press claimed that there was loss of life "on both sides" but only confirmed the deaths of three Indian soldiers.

“The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers,” it read. “Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”


Officials with China's foreign ministry confirmed the clash at a press conference on Tuesday, accusing Indian forces of crossing the border. The Wall Street Journal reported that the confrontation took place high in the mountains apparently without gunfire, with a senior military official suggesting that sticks embedded with nails were used.

“But what is shocking is that on June 15, the Indian troops seriously violated the consensus of the two sides, crossed the border illegally twice and carried out provocative attacks on Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical conflicts between the two border forces,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to the AP.

The confrontation reportedly occurred in the Aksai Chin-Ladakh area, a disputed region in the Himalayas claimed by both countries.

Monday's confrontation marked the first deadly incident between Chinese and Indian forces at the border in decades. One retired Indian general previously wrote in a CNN op-ed that such situations arise from confusion on the ground as to the location of the border.

"At strategic and operational levels, both militaries have exercised restraint," wrote Gen. Bikram Singh. "However, at the tactical level, face-offs occur due to differing perceptions of where the actual border is as [it] is not delineated on the ground."

Updated at 3:00 p.m. with the Indian military's latest casualty report.