At least three Indian soldiers, including a senior army officer, have been killed in a confrontation with Chinese troops along their disputed frontier high in the Himalayas.
The incident — in which neither side fired any shots, according to Indian officials — is the first confrontation between the two Asian giants in which soldiers have died since 1975, and comes after forces on both sides faced off for more than a month.
The Indian army said in a statement that a “violent face-off” took place in Galwan valley in the Ladakh region on Monday night, “with casualties on both sides”.
The statement said: “The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers.
“Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”
China has accused Indian forces along their Himalayan border of carrying out “provocative attacks” on its troops, leading to “serious physical conflicts” between the sides.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian gave no details over any casualties on the Chinese side, but said China had strongly protested against the incident while still being committed to maintaining “peace and tranquillity” along the disputed and heavily militarized border.
Mr Zhao added: “But what is shocking is that on June 15, the Indian troops seriously violated the consensus of the two sides, crossed the border illegally twice and carried out provocative attacks on Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical conflicts between the two border forces.”
Thousands of soldiers from the two countries, backed by armoured trucks and artillery, have been facing off just a few hundred yards apart for more than a month in the Ladakh region near Tibet.
Read more: AP