A US panel has come up with evidence to suggest that China had 'planned' the clash with Indian troops in Galwan Valley in June, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese personnel.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) told the US Congress in an annual report, submitted on December 1, that just weeks before the June 15 faceoff in the valley in Ladakh, China had signalled its intent to escalate tensions with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), reported the Times of India.
"Some evidence suggested the Chinese government had planned the incident, potentially including the possibility of fatalities," the report said about the incident, which it described as 'a massive physical brawl in the Galwan Valley'.
The commission has also posted its report on microblogging platform, Twitter.
The report also characterised the more than seven-month-long India-China military standoff along the LAC as the 'most severe border crisis in decades'.
It highlighted how several weeks before the clash, Chinese Defence Minister, Gen. Wei Fenghe, made his statement encouraging Beijing to 'use fighting to promote stability'.
"Shortly after China's defence minister urged Beijing to use military force to stabilise its periphery, a violent clash on the China-India border in June led to the first loss of life between the two countries since 1975," the report said.
The report also cited some important instances that suggest that China had planned the incident.
"Just over two weeks before the incident, an editorial in China's state-owned tabloid Global Times warned that India would suffer a 'devastating blow' to its trade and economic ties with China if it got 'involved in the US-China rivalry'. Satellite images depicted a large Chinese build-up in the Galwan Valley, including potentially 1,000 PLA (People's Liberation Army) soldiers, the week before the skirmish," it said.
After the clash, China "asserted sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley, a new claim and significant change to the territorial status quo," the report claimed.
The clash has resulted in surging tensions between both the countries since May when India detected Chinese intrusions into Indian territory in Ladakh and Sikkim.
However, the report also mentioned that the 'exact motivation' for the Chinese government's provocative behaviour of the clash has remained unclear. "The proximate cause of the clash appeared to be India's construction of a strategic access road to support troops stationed along the LAC," added the report.
The USCC was set up by the US Congress in 2000. It is mandated with monitoring and submitting an annual report on the national security implications of trade and economic ties between the US and China.