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The Indian Army on Tuesday, June 16, issued an official statement on the "violent faceoff" that took place between the Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh's Galwan valley on June 15.
The statement informed that both sides have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed.
"Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20. Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation," the Army said in a statement.
According to the statement, twenty Indian soldiers including a commanding officer of an infantry battalion lost their lives in the violent clash with their Chinese counterpart.
In its initial statement, the army had announced that an officer and two soldiers had been killed in action. By evening, the authorities updated that 17 Indian troops who were critically injured who later succumbed to injuries and cold in the freezing, high-elevation terrain.
Reportedly, the Chinese army had also suffered significant casualties during the conflict, the numbers have not been confirmed yet.
The Ministry of External Affairs' spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the face-off took place in Galwan valley where the Chinese side "departed from the consensus to respect the LAC (Line of Actual Control)" and attempted to "unilaterally change the status quo".
Considered to be the most violent faceoff between the two armies in five decades, News18 reported that brutal hand-to-hand combat took place for over six hours on Monday night between the two armies.
People's Liberation Army (PLA) had troops armed with iron rods and sticks wrapped in barbed wire hunting and killing the troops of the 16 Bihar Regiment, take the Indian side by surprise.
16 Bihar Regiment's commanding officer, Colonel Santosh Babu was one of the soldiers who was martyred during the aggressive face-off, informed the Indian Army in its statement.
The publication further stated that even unarmed men who fled into the hillsides were "hunted down and killed."
According to The Indian Express, the clashes took place after an argument over the position of Chinese soldiers who had erected a new post/tent on the southern bank of Galwan river in a 'buffer zone' which was a noman's land.
"Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side," Srivastava said.
On June 6, during a meeting both the sides had reportedly agreed on a process for de-escalation.
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