‘Don’t underestimate our firm will to safeguard territorial sovereignty’: China on Ladakh face-off
Galwan Valley was the scene of what Indian officials have described as a “violent face-off” on Monday night that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
China has said that India must not underestimate its firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty. The comments were made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Twitter.
“India must not misjudge the current situation or underestimate China’s firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty,” Hua said in her first tweet.
“Indian front-line troops broke the consensus and crossed the Line of Actual Control, deliberately provoking and attacking Chinese officers and soldiers, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties,” she said in a follow up tweet.
The remarks come a day after the external affairs ministry rubbished the Chinese military’s claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, at the heart of a border stand-off. India said such “untenable claims” go against an understanding between the senior military commanders reached on June 6 to de-escalate and disengage along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Galwan Valley was the scene of what Indian officials have described as a “violent face-off” on Monday night that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers, including a colonel. Dozens more were injured and there are reports of some Indian soldiers still being unaccounted for.
After the clash, a statement in Mandarin issued by the western command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Tuesday had said: “The sovereignty of the Galwan River Valley has always been ours.”
In a statement issued at about 1 am on Thursday, external affairs minister spokesperson Anurag Srivastava rejected the Chinese side’s claim that the sovereignty of Galwan Valley “belongs to China”.
“Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding,” Srivatava said in his rebuttal.
The Galwan Valley - the site of the bloody clash between soldiers from both sides - has been one of the few areas along the Line of Actual Control where the difference in perception of the boundary between the two sides was minimal.
The two countries have been trading charges of what triggered Monday night’s face-off in Galwan Valley that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and 76 more wounded including 18 with serious injuries. Indian Army officials claimed 43 Chinese were killed or seriously injured, citing radio intercepts and other intelligence. Fatal casualties on the Chinese side reportedly include a colonel but HT couldn’t independently verify this.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar told his counterpart Wang Yi in a phone conversation that the Chinese side’s “pre-meditated and planned action” was behind the violence and casualties. Jaishankar also added that the “Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan Valley on our side of the LAC” and set up the clash.