Indian army soldiers walk past their parked trucks at a makeshift transit camp before heading to Ladakh, near Baltal, southeast of Srinagar [Reuters]
At least 20 Indian soldiers have been killed in a violent face-off with Chinese forces on the disputed border, the Indian army has said, in a major escalation of a weeks-long standoff in the western Himalayas.
In a statement, the army said on Tuesday that 17 "critically injured" Indian troops succumbed to their wounds, in addition to an officer and two soldiers who had died earlier.
The troops died "in the line of duty at the stand-off location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain ... taking the total that were killed in action to 20," the statement said.
Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged in the areas where the clashes took place, the statement said, adding that India is firmly committed to “protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation”.
The incident marks the deadliest clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours in decades.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies