In a major development, one officer and two jawans of the Indian Army lost their lives in a violent scuffle which took place between Indian and Chinese Armies at Galwan Valley in Ladakh on Monday night. It's the first incident in more than four decades resulting in fatalities. In 1975, four Indian soldiers had died in a Chinese ambush in Arunachal Pradesh.
Four Assam Rifles troopers were killed in the ambush that took place at Tulung La region of Arunachal Pradesh on October 20, 1975. It was the last such incident of scuffles on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation," according to the official statement by the Indian Army.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, the three service chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, news agency ANI reported. Recent developments in Eastern Ladakh were discussed in the meeting, it added. The Indian Army is expected to give more details on the incident later in the day.
The tensions between the Indian and Chinese armies have been on for some weeks now over border related issues in Ladakh.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to "disengage". However, the standoff continued.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9. The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017, even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it. Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.