China evaded the question for 2nd consecutive day when asked about casualties it suffered in Ladakh
Evading questions about the brutal and fatal attack carried out by its troops on the Indian soldiers with iron rods and spikes on June 15, China today also declined to respond to queries on reports of it building a dam on the Galwan river at the China-India boundary to obstruct its flow of water.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in his media briefing evaded questions for a second consecutive day about the casualties suffered by the Chinese troops in their clash with the Indian soldiers at the Galwan Valley on Monday night.
Asked about the brutal attack on Col Santosh Babu and other Indian soldiers, with iron rods and spikes by Chinese soldiers, Mr Zhao reiterated China's allegation, squarely blaming Indian troops for the incident.
"The right and wrong of this case is very clear and responsibility doesn't lie with the Chinese side," he claimed.
India has trashed China's claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley, saying such "exaggerated" and "untenable" claims are contrary to the understanding reached during a high-level military dialogue on June 6.
In a sharp reaction to the claim on Galwan Valley by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava referred to an agreement reached between the Chinese and Indian militaries on "disengagement" during the Lt General-level talks on June 6.
"Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding," he said in a statement in New Delhi early on Thursday.
The Galwan Valley in Ladakh was the site of the violent clash between the two militaries on Monday night in which a Colonel and 19 other Indian Army personnel were killed in action. China's official media has acknowledged casualties on the Chinese side as well, but hasn't mentioned the number of casualties yet.
To a question about satellite photos taken on June 16 showing China building a dam on the Galwan river blocking its water flow and whether it violated any agreement with India, Mr Zhao said, "I am not aware of the specifics you mentioned".
During Thursday's press briefing, Mr Zhao referred to Wednesday's telephone talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during which, he pointed out that, "both sides agreed to deal with the serious situation caused by the conflict in a just manner and jointly observe the consensus reached at the commander level meeting, de-escalate tensions as soon as possible".
The two ministers have also agreed based on the agreements reached by the two countries reached so far to maintain the peace and tranquillity in the border areas, he said.
Monday's face-off was the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while over 300 Chinese army personnel were killed in the face-off.
The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to the Chinese transgressions, and demanded their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the row.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).