China is believed to be upset with India's construction of roads and air strips. (File)
Military officials from India and China are meeting now to "defuse the situation" after an Indian army officer and two soldiers were killed in a "violent face off" at night in Ladakh on Indian territory. Army sources say the Indian army personnel were not shot.
The Indian army personnel were killed at Galwan Valley, high in the snow desert of Ladakh, marking a giant escalation of the tension that has been simmering at the border for weeks.
The death of the commanding officer and two soldiers comes after Army Chief General MM Naravane said recently that both sides have begun disengaging from Galwan Valley.
A statement from the army released to the media said, "During de-escalation process in Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place last night with casualties. The loss of lives on Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation."
Soldiers from both sides have been camped out in the Galwan Valley in the high-altitude Ladakh region with reports that Chinese troops had trespassed into Indian territory.
China is believed to be upset with India's construction of roads and air strips.
After years of neglect Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has pushed for improving connectivity and by 2022, 66 key roads along the Chinese border will have been built.
One of these roads is near the Galwan Valley that connects to India's Daulat Beg Oldi air base, which was inaugurated last October.
"The road is very important because it runs parallel to the LAC and is linked at various points with the major supply bases inland," said Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary to Reuters in a recent interview.
"It remains within our side of the LAC. It is construction along this new alignment which appears to have been challenged by the Chinese."