Army Officer, 2 Soldiers Killed In "Violent Face-Off" With China In Ladakh

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Indian and Chinese soldiers have been locked in a standoff for weeks

New Delhi:

An Indian army officer and two soldiers were killed in a "violent face-off" on Monday night with Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, where the two sides have been ranged against each other over the past few weeks. Senior military representatives of both sides are meeting to defuse tension, according to an official statement on Tuesday.

The statement said: "During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the 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."

Indian and Chinese soldiers have been locked in a standoff for weeks at Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A significant number of Chinese army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control or the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso.

After weeks of tension including an incident in which patrolling soldiers from the two sides came to blows on the banks of Pangong Lake, resulting in injuries, friction eased following talks.

Indian and Chinese military commanders have been in talks at the Brigade Commander and Battalion Commander level in Galwan Valley area and Hot Springs.

The Chinese Army had earlier pulled back its troops from the Galwan valley, PP-15 and Hot Springs in Eastern Ladakh area. The Indian side also brought back some of its troops and vehicles from these areas.

Former Indian military officials and diplomats suggest the trigger for the flare-up is 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 Daulat Beg Oldi air base, which was inaugurated last October.

China has objected to the Indian construction of roads in the area.

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