Modi Denies Any Indian Territory Was Lost in China Clash

By Sharma, Ashok; Schmall, Emily | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), June 20, 2020 | Go to article overview

Modi Denies Any Indian Territory Was Lost in China Clash


Sharma, Ashok, Schmall, Emily, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


BY ASHOK SHARMA

And EMILY SCHMALL

The Associated Press

NEW DELHI - India's prime minister said Friday that the entire country is "hurt and angry" at the killing of 20 soldiers by Chinese forces in a disputed Himalayan border region, while denying assertions that any Indian territory had been lost.

Addressing a meeting of top opposition leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that "the country today has such capability that no one can even dare look towards an inch of our land."

Modi underscored that India wants peace and friendship, but upholding sovereignty is foremost.

Sonia Gandhi, the main opposition Congress party chief, had earlier questioned whether intelligence failures had allowed China to build up forces in the area and she called for tough government action in getting China to leave Indian territory.

"We are still in the dark about many crucial aspects of the crisis," she said.

India and China accuse each other of instigating Monday's fight in the Galwan Valley, part of the disputed Ladakh region along the Himalayan frontier. China has not said whether it suffered any casualties in what was the deadliest conflict between the sides in 45 years.

Both countries said they were communicating through military and diplomatic channels and stressed the importance of their broader relationship. Experts say the two nations are unlikely to head to war, but easing tensions quickly will be difficult.

China on Friday maintained its position that India is to blame for the clash.

"The right and wrong is very clear and the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

Both India and China have denied media reports that Indian soldiers were in Chinese custody.

During Monday's clash soldiers brawled with clubs, rocks and their fists in the thin air at 14,000 feet above sea level, but no shots were fired, Indian officials have said. The soldiers carry firearms but are not allowed to use them under a previous agreement in the border dispute.

Indian security officials have said the fatalities were caused by severe injuries and exposure to subfreezing temperatures.

The clash escalated a standoff that began in early May, when Indian officials said Chinese soldiers crossed the border in three places, erecting tents and guard posts and ignoring warnings to leave. That triggered shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights between the opposing sides, much of it replayed on TV news programs and in social media.

The action has taken place along a remote stretch of the 2,100-mile Line of Actual Control - the border established following a war between India and China in 1962 that resulted in an uneasy truce.

The rules of engagement along the Line of Actual Control - which prohibit using live ammunition but also ban physical contact between soldiers - will have to be renegotiated, defense analyst Rahul Bedi said. …

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