FACTS

    At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed on Monday in an hours-long battle with Chinese soldiers over the highly contested Aksai Chin-Ladakh border of the Himalayan Mountains. After Indian soldiers discovered People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the region that the PLA had agreed to disengage in, hand-to-hand combat broke out with soldiers using rocks and metal bars to fight. It was reported that “most deaths on both sides” occurred “from soldiers falling or being knocked from mountain terrain,” and others “died of exposure in the high-altitude cold after being injured in the fighting.” Rulers from both nations have agreed to work towards de-escalation, but tensions remain high between the nuclear world-powers after weeks of standoff.

    CHINA’S TAKE

    China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that India is at fault for the conflict and blamed Indian forces for trespassing on Chinese territory. The nation has not reported how many Chinese soldiers were killed in battle. In a phone call with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Wang warned him, “The Indian side must not misjudge the current situation and must not underestimate China’s firm will to safeguard territorial sovereignty.”

    “The right and wrong of this is very clear. This incident happened at the Chinese side of the line of actual control. China is not to blame for this.”

    Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    INDIA’S TAKE

    India claims that the Chinese troops premeditatedly attacked the Indian soldiers in the region in which they had agreed to disengage. “India wants peace, but if instigated, India at all costs is capable of giving an appropriate response,” said Modi in a statement. The Indian Foreign Ministry said that they have been extremely careful to keep activity strictly on their side of the border.

    “Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.”

    Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for Indian Foreign Ministry
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