New Delhi- Twenty Indian Army personnel including a colonel were killed in a fierce clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff in the region.
The Army initially said on Tuesday that an officer and two soldiers were killed. But in a late evening statement it revised the figure to 20 saying 17 others who “were critically injured in the line of duty and exposed to sub-zero temperatures at the standoff location succumbed to their injuries.”
Government sources said the Chinese side too suffered “proportionate casualties” but chose not to speculate on the number.
It is the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while over 300 Chinese army personnel were killed in the confrontation.
The casualties take both sides into uncharted territory at a time when the government’s attention is focused on fighting the COVID-19 crisis that appears to be ballooning by the day.
“Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020, the Army statement said.
It did not say how the casualties occurred and did not mention any firefight between the two sides. Indian military sources said no firearms were used in the clashes and that most of the injuries were sustained following stone-pelting and use of rods by the Chinese side.