China has claimed that a commanding officer was killed during the June 15 skirmish in the disputed border regions that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. The admission comes as the two Asian giants have attempted to broker a peace agreement despite growing tensions between the two countries.
According to NDTV India, the negotiations — which have reached Lieutenant General levels — are currently taking place at Moldo, on the Chinese side of Chushul. This was the first time that China confessed to any casualties of the attack. The Middle Kingdom has not offered any details on any other injuries or deaths, claiming that it does not want to further escalate any tensions.
However, it has been alleged through leaks in the Chinese army that around 45 soldiers were either killed or faced serious injuries.
India has already announced that 20 of its own troops were killed in the attack. Like China, a commanding officer, Colonel BL Santosh Babu, was among the fatalities. In addition to the death count, a reported 76 Indian soldiers were injured, though army sources said that they expected short recovery time for those wounded and expected the soldiers to return to duty within weeks.
As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the incident happened close to the Galwan River in the Himalayas, in an area where both countries have claimed sovereignty.
A previous peace treaty had mandated that firearms could not be used by either country, so the conflict saw soldiers reportedly fighting with weapons made from rods covered in barbed wire.
China blamed India for a “deliberate provocation” that instigated the attack. Meanwhile, India hit back at the claims, saying that the allegations were “not acceptable.”
Though military officials have been at work trying to diffuse armed conflict, growing nationalistic tensions have continued to grow in both countries — though particularly in India.
According to The Wall Street Journal, several anti-Chinese protests took place in India during funerals for the 20 Indian soldiers. In addition, civilians have embarked on a number of campaigns to boycott Chinese goods and technologies, including controversial 5-G supplier Huawei.
“India-China relations today are at an inflection point,” explained Ashok K. Kantha, director of the New Delhi-based Institute of Chinese Studies and former Indian ambassador to China.
“India-China relations are under a lot of pressure at this point of time and if the Chinese don’t take corrective action, that pressure will increase.”
“The mood toward China is going to change in very corrosive ways,” predicted Ashley Tellis, a former senior security official in the George W. Bush administration.