India seeks eased tensions with China after Himalayas clash

India seeks eased tensions with China after Himalayas clash

India seeks eased tensions with China after Himalayas clash

NEW DELHI — India said Thursday it was using diplomatic channels with China to de-escalate a military standoff in a remote Himalayan border region where 20 Indian soldiers were killed this week.

Responding to China’s claim to the disputed Galwan Valley, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said both sides agreed to handle the situation responsibly.

“Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding,” he said in a statement.

Monday’s clash that killed 20 Indian troops was the deadliest between the sides in 45 years. China has not said whether it suffered any casualties.

Indian news reports said Thursday that 76 Indian soldiers were hospitalized with injuries following the clash. All are in stable condition,according to New Delhi Television.

The Indian Army did not issue a statement about the injured soldiers and Defence Ministry spokesman Col. Aman Anand did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comments. Indian officials have denied reports that any of its troops were in Chinese custody.

India and China have accused each other of instigating the clash in the valley, which is part of the disputed Ladakh region along the Himalayan frontier.

The deaths happened in the thin air at 4,270 metres (14,000 feet) above sea level, when soldiers brawled with clubs, rocks and their fists with no shots fired, Indian officials have said. The soldiers carry firearms but are not allowed to use them under a previous agreement in the border standoff dispute.

Defence analyst Ajai Shukla tweeted a photo of rods studded with nails that were purportedly used by Chinese troops.

China maintained that Indian troops had deliberately provoked the clash, though it also signalled it wanted talks, noting the importance of their broader bilateral relationship.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, citing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a call with his Indian counterpart, said that “mutual respect and support serves our long-term interests.”

“After the incident, China and India communicated and co-ordinated through military and diplomatic channels,” Zhao said. “The two sides agreed to deal fairly with the serious events caused by the conflict in the Galwan Valley, and … cool down the situation as soon as possible.”

But emotions were high in the south Indian city of Hyderabad, where thousands watched the funeral procession of Indian Col. Santosh Babu. He was among the 20 Indian troops who officials said died of injuries and exposure after the clash in the area’s subfreezing temperatures.

In the Indian Himalayan city of McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, demonstrators shouted anti-China slogans and burned the Chinese flag.

An Indian confederation of small and midsize companies called for a boycott of 500 Chinese goods, including toys and textiles, to express “strong criticism” of China’s alleged aggression in Ladakh.

The boycott call followed protests Wednesday in New Delhi where demonstrators destroyed items they said were made in China while chanting, “China get out.”

The Himalayan clash has fanned growing anti-Chinese sentiments due to the coronavirus. India has confirmed more than 366,000 virus cases and 12,200 deaths.

But a broader boycott could backfire for India if China chose to retaliate by banning exports of raw materials used by India’s pharmaceutical industry.

Indian opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi demanded answers from the army after asking: “Why were our soldiers sent unarmed to martyrdom?”

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar responded that the Indian soldiers were carrying firearms but that troops from both sides cannot use them because of 1996 and 2005 agreements between the two countries

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 3,380-kilometre (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.

Wang, China’s foreign minister, warned New Delhi not to underestimate Beijing’s determination to safeguard what it considers sovereign territory. His comments came in a phone call Wednesday with Jaishankar.

Wang said China demanded that India conduct a thorough investigation and “harshly punish” those responsible.

Jaishankar, in turn, accused China of erecting a structure in the Galwan Valley, which he called a “premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties,” according to a statement.

He added that the incident would have “serious repercussions” on India’s relationship with China, while adding that both sides were committed to further disengaging in the remote Himalayan plateau.

Experts have said the two nations were unlikely to head to war, but that easing tensions quickly will be difficult.

China claims about 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, while India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the Himalayas, a contiguous part of the Ladakh region.

India unilaterally declared Ladakh a federal territory while separating it from disputed Kashmir in August 2019. China was among the handful of countries to condemn the move, raising it at international forums, including the U.N. Security Council.

India on Thursday was elected to a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.

Ashok Sharma And Emily Schmall, The Associated Press

India

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

India seeks eased tensions with China after Himalayas clash

India seeks eased tensions with China after Himalayas clash

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced the province surpasses one million COVID-19 tests Friday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

Most central Alberta communities under province’s enhanced measures list

Sylvan Lake RCMP, Fire Department and Victim Services will be out on Dec. 5 for the annual Charity Check-stop. File Photo
Give Sylvan Lake RCMP the bird at Charity Check-stop

Sylvan Lake RCMP will be accepting frozen turkeys for the food bank during the charity check-stop

Ecole H.J. Cody School. File Photo
Sylvan Lake high school temporarily moves to online classes

Over the weekend, H.J. Cody reported six positive cases of COVID-19

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Central zone active cases slightly up

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer.
photo submitted
Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Traffic crosses over the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver on July 2, 2015. Motorists would have to pay a fee to drive into downtown Vancouver under the city's plan to slow climate change but one expert warns it could pose financial hardship for some. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver’s climate plan ‘first 10 steps in a journey of 10,000,’ says expert

Almost 40 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from vehicles

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read