- China has laid claim to the entire Galwan Valley on the Himalayan border at the center of Sino-Indian dispute
- Satellite images appear to show China bringing in machinery and damming a river at the disputed border
- Indian troops recently built a new 200ft bridge over the river on their side of the Line of Actual Control
- India says 20 soldiers were killed when troops fought with clubs and fists at 14,000 feet in the Himalayas
Emer Scully and Tim Stickings – Daily Mail June 20, 2020
China has laid claim to the entire Galwan Valley on the Himalayan border where Chinese and Indian troops fought in a deadly midnight battle using spiked clubs and rocks just days ago.
The midnight brawl in part of the disputed Ladakh region along the Himalayan frontier was the deadliest in 45 years. Some 63 soldiers are thought to have been killed.
It comes after it was revealed China appears to have sent bulldozers to divert the course of a river near the disputed border where soldiers fought at 14,000 feet on Monday, satellite images suggest.
India blamed China for instigating the fight by developing infrastructure in the valley, which it said was a breach of the agreement regarding the disputed land.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement that ‘the Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in the west section of the China-India boundary’.
He blamed incursions by Indian troops in the area from early May for a midnight clash on Monday that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China has not said whether its side suffered any casualties, but reports have suggested the number of casualties could be as high as 43.
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 deaths were caused by severe injuries and exposure to sub-freezing temperatures.
The valley falls within 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.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Anurag Srivastava declined to comment on China’s claim to the valley. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a meeting with political opposition leaders on Friday that ‘neither anyone has intruded into our territory, nor took over any post’.
Mr Modi said India was ‘hurt and angry’ about the deaths of its troops. He said India wanted peace and friendship, but had the ‘capability that no one can even dare look towards an inch of our land’.