India’s defense ministry said in a statement Monday that China’s People’s Liberation Army on Saturday night “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” in the Ladakh region and “violated” the consensus reached during recent peace talks to settle the standoff.
Indian troops “undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on [the] ground,” the statement said.
In this June 17, 2020, file photo, an Indian army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, northeast of Srinagar, India. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan, File)
The ministry said the activity took place on the southern bank of Pangong Lake, a glacial lake divided by the de facto frontier between the rivals and where the India-China faceoff began in early May.
China has denied that its troops violated the agreement between the two rival countries.
In this Sept. 14, 2017, file photo, Pangong Tso lake is seen near the India China border in India’s Ladakh area. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, file)
“Chinese border troops always act in strict compliance with the Line of Actual Control, and have never crossed the line for any activities,” foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing.
Zhao said border forces were communicating over recent events but gave no details.
Two Indian security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, told The Associated Press that over two dozen Chinese soldiers walked into Indian-held territory Saturday night. The soldiers were blocked by Indian troops and forced to go back. The officials said there were no physical clashes.
The Indian army says 20 of its troops are dead after a clash with Chinese forces along the Himalayan border between the two countries; State Department correspondent Rich Edson reports.
The incident comes just months after the deadliest conflict in 45 years between the nuclear-armed rivals.
Indian officials said Chinese troops fought Indian soldiers atop a ridge in the narrow Galwan valley on June 15. The Chinese troops threw stones, punched and pushed Indian soldiers down the ridge at around 15,000 feet, leaving 20 Indians dead, including a colonel. China did not report any casualties.
Local military commanders from the two countries were meeting along the disputed border Monday to resolve the issues from the latest incident, India’s defense ministry said. It said India was committed to dialogue “but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.