After deadliest clash in decades, China claims sovereignty of Galwan Valley

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A day after twenty Indian army personnel were killed in the deadliest clash in the last 45 years between India and China in eastern Ladakh, China has claimed that “sovereignty of the Galwan Valley region has always belonged” to her. 

In a statement, the spokesman of the Western Theater, Zhang Shuili, accused the India army of “[violating] its commitment and crossed the actual control line again [on the evening of 15 June]. Illegal activities, deliberately launched provocative attacks, triggered fierce physical conflict between the two sides, resulting in casualties.”

This is an unprecedented claim by China; a Chinese map of 1962 extends its boundary up to the Shyok river, which is a zone of contention for India, Galwan Valley was always seen as an area where the lay of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was not disputed, reported The Wire.

The statement sent out by India’s Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Tuesday claimed: “India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh.”

On Tuesday, the Indian army also issued a statement, claiming, “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 added that it “is firmly committed to protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.”

The statement by the spokesman of the Western Theater, Zhang Shuili, further demanded “the Indian side strictly restrain the front-line troops, immediately stop all infringement and provocative actions, go against the Chinese side, and return to the correct track of dialogue and talks to resolve differences.”

The army also claimed that both sides suffered casualties. However, there has been no official word on this from China. On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said: “India troops crossed the borderline twice on Monday provoking and attacking Chinese personnel resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides,” reported an international news agency, AFP.

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