China likely lost at least 40 soldiers in border clash: Indian minister
MUMBAI (Reuters) - China lost at least 40 soldiers in a clash with India at the controversial border this week, a federal government minister said, with nuclear-armed countries still at the front on Sunday.
China has said nothing about melee casualties that took place in the highly competitive Galwan Valley in the western Himalayas, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed and at least 76 injured.
"If 20 were martyred on our (Indian) side, there would have been at least twice as many victims on their (Chinese) side," VKSingh, the Minister of Roads and Transport, told TV News24 in an interview late Saturday was broadcast.
Singh, a former army chief, has provided no evidence to support his testimony. He said China has historically never accepted victims of war, not even in the 1962 conflict with India.
China's state-controlled Global Times said earlier that there had been casualties on the Chinese side but did not go into detail.
Singh said the Indian side had handed over Chinese troops that had strayed into Indian territory after the violent standoff.
The Indian Ministry of Defense spokesman Bharat Bhushan Babu refused to comment on Singh's interview.
Asian nuclear-armed neighbors exchanged allegations on Saturday that the others had violated their common de facto border, an area that has been the scene of their deadliest clash in half a century this week.
Despite talks between local commanders about de-escalation, the troops remain in clash at several locations along the poorly defined line of actual control.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticized China for escalating border tensions with India.
(Reporting by Swati Bhat and Rupam Jain; editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Stephen Coates)
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