China has dismissed reports of the killing of an Indian soldier along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), after the troops of the two nations were involved in yet another skirmish, the second major clash after the Galwan Valley incident back in June.
According to a statement issued by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Hua Chunying on Wednesday (September 02) and quoted by Russian RT.com, said that no member of India’s armed forces died on the mountainous border with China.
Asked about the intrusion into Pangong Tso banks on the southern side, Hua Chunying said, “You just said that the Indian side pre-empted China’s action. In China, we have a saying about a guilty mind protesting conspicuously he’s innocent. That’s what India did. It shows that the Indian troops illegally crossed the line in provocation and unilaterally changed the status quo and broke the two sides’ agreement and consensus.”
As reported earlier by the Eurasian Times quoting news agency AFP, an Indian soldier of Tibetan origin, a member of India’s Special Frontier Force was reportedly killed in the latest showdown with Chinese troops on Saturday (August 29) night at the highly contested Himalayan border.
It is the first reported death from the two incidents occurring within 48 hours on the border, two months after the deadly skirmish between the militaries of the two nations which left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unconfirmed number on the Chinese side.
This is the first official comment on the report since the death of the soldier was confirmed by Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari, a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile, who told AFP (Agence France-Presse) that the Tibetan-origin soldier was “martyred during the clash” on the night of Saturday. However, there has been no comment from any officials belonging to the Indian government or the military.
The incident has fueled concerns of a broader military confrontation between the two neighbors, ties between whom have been deteriorating despite attempts at dealing through diplomatic measures.
Earlier, New Delhi had blamed Beijing for changing the status quo along the LAC while firmly rejecting the People Liberation Army’s (PLA) efforts to blame India for increased tensions.
Spokesman of India’s Foreign Minister, Anurag Srivastava said that China had “engaged in provocative military maneuvers in the late night of 29 and 30 August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake”.
“(The Indian Army) responded to these provocative actions and took appropriate defensive measures along the LAC in order to safeguard our interests and defend the territorial integrity,” he added.
“Furthermore, on 31 August, even as the ground commanders of the two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation, Chinese troops again engaged in provocative action. Due to the timely defensive action, the Indian side was able to prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo.”