China claims valley where Indian, Chinese soldiers brawled
NEW DELHI (AP) - China said that the Galwan Valley, high up in the Himalayan border region, where Chinese and Indian troops were involved in a deadly brawl this week, falls entirely in China and bravely claims the controversial area, as the Asian giants continue to use military and military diplomatic channels to relieve tension.
The confrontation in the Galwan Valley, part of the controversial Ladakh region along the Himalayan border, was the deadliest between the two countries 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 on Friday that "the Galwan Valley is on the Chinese side of the line of effective control in the western part of the China-India border."
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 it has suffered losses.
Soldiers fought with clubs, stones and their fists in the air at 4,270 meters above sea level, 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 is in a remote section of the 3,380-kilometer line of actual control - the border established after a war between India and China in 1962 that led to an uneasy ceasefire.
The Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava, said the ministry has no immediate comment on China's recent claim to the valley. However, Srivastava said in a statement on Thursday that such an allegation was "exaggerated and untenable".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a meeting with political opposition leaders on Friday that nobody "has entered our territory or taken over any post".
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 look at an inch of our country."
Also on Friday, Zhao, spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, 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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