NEW DELHI/BEIJING – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the sacrifice of the 20 soldiers killed by the Chinese Army “will not go in vain” and urged that “differences [with China] should not turn into disputes”.
“For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important… India wants peace but it is capable to give a befitting reply if instigated,” he said, Al-Jazeera reported.
Modi ended his address on live television by observing a two-minute silence and folding his hands in order to pay his tributes to the dead soldiers.
The Indian leader has also called for a virtual meeting on June 19 with the opposition parties to discuss the tension with China, his office added. Talks are being held between senior Indian and Chinese army officers in the Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayan region to defuse the situation, India’s news agency, ANI, reported citing sources in the Indian Army.
In a report earlier on Wednesday, ANI also claimed that a Chinese military commander was among more than 40 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers killed in Monday night’s “violent face-off”. India stated that the “violent face-off” is an attempt by China to “unilaterally change the status quo” on the Galwan Valley frontier in Indian-administered Ladakh.
Beijing has accused the Indian Army of “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation”. China announced it does not want to see any more clashes on the border with India following the clash that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers, adding that both countries are trying to resolve the situation via dialogue.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated that China is not to blame for the clash and said the overall situation at the border is “stable and controllable”. China’s state broadcaster reported on a large military exercise in the same region as a recent deadly border clash with India.
The CCTV report did not mention when exactly the military exercise was conducted, only mentioning “recently” and that 155 vehicles were used in Nyainqentanglha Shan more than 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from the site of recent deadly clashes between the two nations’ armies.