China has accused India of "deliberate provocation" following a border skirmish that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. The statement comes as relations between the two Asian nations continue to deteriorate amid several border disputes.
According to the BBC, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao accused the nuclear rival of a "deliberate provocation" by crossing a disputed border and attacking Chinese soldiers who were allegedly in the area for negotiation.
"Shockingly, on the evening of June 15, India's front-line troops, in violation of the agreement reached at the commander-level meeting, once again crossed the Line of Actual Control for deliberate provocation when the situation in the Galwan Valley was already easing," Lijian claimed in a series of tweets.
"India's front-line troops even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties. This is the step-by-step account of the Galwan clash," he concluded.
However, India has taken a different view of the altercation, claiming that Chinese soldiers prompted the fight after trying to build a "structure" on the Indian side of the border.
In fact, India's foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava not only denied that Indian troops crossed the border into Chinese territory, but also called Chinese accounts of the altercation to be "not acceptable" (per Sky News).
In addition, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a statement criticizing Chinese actions, warning that India will be sure to uphold its "sovereignty."
"The entire country is hurt and angry at the steps taken by China," he said. "India wants peace and friendship, but upholding sovereignty is foremost."
The recent Chinese rhetoric will likely only add to tensions between the two nations, despite a number of peace talks that have taken place between them.
Though India released details about the 20 troops that were killed and more than 70 that were wounded during the clash, China has not disclosed any information about its own casualties of the clash. The skirmish took place on June 15 and was the first time that the two rival nations have had a fatal confrontation in 45 years.
Though neither side used firearms, it has been reported that Chinese soldiers used metal rods wrapped with barbed wire to use against Indian soldiers, sparking outrage in the Asian subcontinent. It is not known what weapons were used by Indian soldiers.
Though this is the first deadly skirmish in decades, it is not the first time that Indian and Chinese troops have clashed in recent months. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the two armies engaged in scuffles earlier in May, leading to a troop build-up along the border by the Middle Kingdom.