By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, Phyang Monastery in Ladakh, India, the district vicinity of the border clashes. Precise location in this image is different from the immediate area of the violent altercation. Image created by Bernard Gagnon, CC By SA 4.0 license. Image created in 2018.
The border clash between China and India has escalated with at least 20 Indian soldiers killed. This was reported by The New York Times on June 16. Within the last hour, the Washington Post confirms that this is the first deadly clash of this magnitude in 45 years. NDTV corroborates the 20 deaths, reporting that there have been 43 Chinese casualties.
The two sides are locked in direct conflict over the Line of Actual Control zone or the LAC. The violent altercation between Indian and Chinese troops occurred in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh. NDTV was citing government sources. Indian sources state that the Ladakh zone has been in Indian sovereign possession since 1962. Tensions have been on high alert for approximately a month in this region as Chinese occupation of the zone is on the rise. BBC puts the location of the LAC and border clashes in Kashmir.
The Global Times reports, via the Twitter of journalist Neha Poonia, that the Chinese have blamed the altercation on the Indian side. The clash was one of direct physical violence with no reported shots fired.
NDTV states that a Colonel is among the Indian casualties. The Times of India has identified him as Colonel B. Santosh Babu.
This violent altercation comes just two weeks after The Epoch Times reported that China and India had deployed thousands of troops to the shared border.
The Prime Minister of Indian Narendra Modi has not yet commented via his English language twitter handle regarding the incident at the border.
Immediately following the violent altercation, Indian voices sounded off regarding the incident. Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Minister of the Government of Assam, offered solidarity to those honoring the sacrifice of “martyrs” at the border.
“I join the nation in saluting the supreme sacrifices of our bravehearts who fought valiantly at #GalwanValley. My deep thoughts & prayers are with the families of our martyrs. We all stand together with the #IndianArmy,” said Sarma, in a tweet that was posted at 12:24pm on June 16.
Others questioned why Modi would not pick up the phone and begin direct communications with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. One such commentator was Sagarika Ghose, a journalist for the Times of India.
“With 3 soldiers martyred on #LAC why doesn’t PM @narendramodi pick up phone to pres Xi Jinping, call upon long personal ties to solve what is becoming a bloody conflict? Modi has visited China 9 times as CM & PM, no other Indian PM has visited China more than once #GalwanValley,” said Ghose in a tweet that was posted at 3:42 am on June 16.
It is not at this time clear if the United States officials will take any side in the India-China border conflict. The United States has been taking express measures to strengthen alliance with the European Union against activity of the People’s Republic of China and Russia. This was stated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 15.
“Thanks @JosepBorrellF for convening today’s informal Foreign Affairs Council meeting with my EU foreign minister colleagues. The U.S.-EU relationship is critical to confronting challenges posed by the PRC, Russia, and other authoritarian regimes who disregard international norms,” said Pompeo in a tweet that was posted at 12:13pm on June 15.
If the U.S.’ defensive posturing against China continues, and it seeks to strengthen alliance with India, then it would strongly infer the United States’ potential to become involved on the Indian side. However, this has not been yet stated or verbally inferred by U.S. officials.