China claims Himalayan valley after 20 Indian soldiers killed in clashes
China has claimed the entire Galwan Valley high up in the Himalayan border region, where Chinese and Indian troops have been involved in a deadly fight this week.
The confrontation in the Galwan Valley, part of the controversial Ladakh region along the Himalayan border, was the deadliest in 45 years.
India accuses China of having instigated the struggle by expanding infrastructure in the valley. This is a violation of the agreement on which area is still controversial.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement that "the Galwan Valley is on the Chinese side of the line of effective control in the western part of the China-India border."
Protesters burn a Chinese flag in Dharmsala, India (Ashwini Bhatia / AP)
He blamed Indian troops in the region in early May for a midnight clash on Monday that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China has not said whether its side has suffered losses.
Soldiers struck 14,000 feet above sea level with clubs, stones, and their fists in the air, but no shots were fired, Indian officials said. The soldiers carry firearms, but are not allowed to use them in the border dispute by prior agreement.
Indian security officials said the deaths were due to serious injuries and freezing temperatures.
The valley lies in a remote section of the 2,100-mile line of actual control - the border that was established after a war between India and China in 1962 that led to an uneasy ceasefire.
The Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava, declined to comment on China's claim to the valley. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a meeting with political opposition leaders on Friday that "no one has entered our territory or taken any post".
Mr. Modi said India was "hurt and angry" at the death of its troops. He said India wanted peace and friendship, but had the "ability that no one could dare to look at an inch of our country."
Also on Friday, Mr. Zhao said that China is not detaining Indian soldiers without responding to media reports, according to which China released ten of them late Thursday.
"My information is that there are currently no Indian personnel detained on the Chinese side," said Zhao, according to an English version of his daily briefing, which was published on the ministry's website.
Indian officials have denied that soldiers were in Chinese detention.
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