China's Defence Ministry says recent border clash caused by India

A Maxar satellite image taken on May 22, 2020, shows a Chinese military base in Galwan Valley. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday (June 24) a border clash between China and India was caused by the Indian side.

The Indian actions violated a consensus between the two countries and were a unilateral provocation, the ministry said on its social media account.

India said 20 of its soldiers were killed in a clash on June 15 with Chinese troops in a major escalation of a weeks-long stand-off between the nuclear-armed Asian giants in the western Himalayas.

Soldiers fought with rocks, metal rods and wooden clubs at the Galwan Valley along the disputed border.

Indian and Chinese military commanders met on Monday to try to ease tensions as the public mood hardened in India for a military and economic riposte following the worst clash in more than five decades.

The Indian government has blamed China for seeking to erect structures "just across the Line of Actual Control", as the demarcation is known, and refusing India's request to stop.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for China's Defence Ministry told a regular briefing: "China has sovereignty over the Galwan Valley. For many years, Chinese border guards have been patrolling and performing their duties here. Since April this year, the Indian border defence forces have unilaterally built facilities in the region, and China has repeatedly made representations and protests on this."

The spokesman said that on the evening of June 15, Indian frontier troops "openly violated the consensus reached by the two parties and turned against each other".

"They crossed the actual control line again and deliberately provoked China. While negotiating on the spot, Chinese officers and soldiers were suddenly violently attacked by the Indian side. This triggered intense physical clashes between officers and soldiers on both sides, resulting in casualties."

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