China and India have accused each other of provoking fighting in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a disputed Himalayan border area.
Soldiers reportedly brawled with sticks, bats, and bamboo sticks studded with nails in the late night confrontation in the Ladakh region on Monday. However, no shots were fired.
India’s army said that both sides suffered casualties. China confirmed the incident but did not give details. The Indian statement notes that injured soldiers were “exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain”.
It is the first deadly clash between the two sides in the border area, in the disputed Kashmir region, in at least 45 years.
India said China had tried to “unilaterally change the status quo”. Beijing accused Indian troops of “attacking Chinese personnel”.
India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said the clash arose from “an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo” on the border.
China did not confirm the number of casualties, but accused India in turn of crossing the border onto the Chinese side.
The two armies later held talks to try to defuse tensions.
Source: BBC News