India says officer, 2 soldiers killed in ‘violent faceoff’ on border with...

India says officer, 2 soldiers killed in ‘violent faceoff’ on border with China

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Intl desk, June 16: The Indian army said on Tuesday that one of its officers and two soldiers were killed in a “violent faceoff” on the contested border with China, the first such incident in decades between the nuclear-armed neighbours.India and China have been locked in a standoff in the western Himalayas for weeks, though there had been no casualties on either side, DAWN reported.

The latest incident took place in the Galwan Valley in the mountainous region of Ladakh, the Indian army said in a statement.

Senior military officials from both sides were meeting to defuse the situation, it said.

China’s foreign ministry said it was unaware of the incident and warned India not to take unilateral action or stir up trouble.

The Asian giants have rival claims to vast swathes of territory along their 3,500 kilometers Himalayan border, but the disputes have remained largely peaceful since a border war in 1962.

India’s main stock indexes, gave up earlier gains after the news, and were last up about 0.4 per cent each at 07:40 GMT, while the rupee weakened to 76.04 to the dollar.

Tensions along the China-India border high in the Himalayas have flared again in recent weeks, leading defence experts in New Delhi to fear that the jostling could turn into an unintended full-blown military action.

Indian officials say the latest row began in early May, when Chinese soldiers entered the disputed territory of Ladakh at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts. They said the Chinese soldiers ignored repeated verbal warnings to depart, triggering shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights. China has sought to downplay the confrontation while providing little information.

Observers, however, say that the face-off was triggered by India’s construction of roads and air strips in the region.