Follow Us

Friday, June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020
Indian warships have been placed on alert in the region (stock image)Credit: Alamy

INDIA has deployed warships and fighter jets after China killed 20 soldiers in bloody clashes on the border amid rising tensions.
Brutal fighting erupted along the India-China border in the Himalayas on Monday - the first loss of life in confrontation between the two since 1975.

And in his first public comments, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country is ready to hit back if provoked by China.

In a televised address, the PM said: "I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain.

"For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important. India wants peace but it is capable to give a befitting reply if instigated."

General Bipin Rawat, chief of the defence staff, has reportedly been asked by the Indian government to prepare the army, air force and navy for any further potential clashes.

Sources said the Indian government wants to leave "nothing to chance" after the violence despite opening talks with China, reports the Economic Times.

Indian warships have been given the green light to deploy into the Malacca Strait and anywhere else in the Indo-Pacific.

Fighter planes have also been deployed to forward locations as fears continue to mount over a potential large-scale war between the two nuclear-armed powers.

In a bullish editorial published in the Communist Party mouthpiece newspaper The Global Times, state media said China does not want a war - but will not run away from one.

It said: "The gap between China's and India's strength is clear

"China does not want to turn border issues with India into a confrontation. This is goodwill and restraint from China.

"But China is confident in the situation at the border. It does not and will not create conflicts, but it fears no conflicts either."

India said yesterday that 20 of its soldiers were killed, while China reported 43 casualties, after fighting broke out with stones, iron bars and batons.

No shots were reportedly fired in the confrontation - with some soldiers said to have been killed when they were shoved into a gorge.

The "violent face-off" erupted in the Galwan Valley in the northern Ladakh state, India said, and its dead included high-ranking officer Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu.

Both sides have blamed the other for the deadly fighting as the two armies held talks to try and defuse tensions.

An Indian official said the clash started when the two were discussing how to defuse the situation when “the People’s Liberation Army turned on a group of Indian soldiers”.

India's foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said the battle stemmed from "an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo".

Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that India had crossed the border, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides".

The clash came as thousands of Indian and Chinese soldiers, backed by armoured trucks and artillery, have been facing off a few hundred yards apart for more than a month in the region near Tibet.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: "The loss of soldiers in Galwan is deeply disturbing and painful.

"Our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army."

Indian officials have said Chinese soldiers crossed the boundary in Ladakh in early May at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts and ignoring verbal warnings to leave.

That triggered shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights, much of it replayed on television news channels and social media.

Since then India has accused China of invading 20 square miles of its territory.

China also accused Indian troops of crossing its border and attacking its soldiers in the tit-for-tat border row.

The China-India border dispute covers nearly 2,175 miles of frontier that the two countries call the Line of Actual Control.

India accuses China of occupying almost 15,000 square miles of its territory.

They fought a bitter war in 1962 that spilled into Ladakh, and tensions have simmered ever since.

Protesters were seen yesterday burning portraits of Chinese leader Xi Jinping as fears rage that the row might escalate.
Soldiers from the two sides are also eyeball-to-eyeball in Naku La, in the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim between Nepal and Bhutan.

Troops reportedly came to blows on the border there in May.

India has also been locked in a long-running dispute with Pakistan over the Kashmir region, parts of which are controlled by each nation.

Pictures from today revealed military police guarding the Indian embassy in the Chinese capital Beijing.



Post a Comment

Leave Your Comment