Galwan Valley: Image appears to show nail-studded rods used in India-China brawl
An image that an Indian military official passed on to the BBC shows raw weapons that are said to have been used in combat
A picture has been taken that shows a crude weapon allegedly used by Chinese forces in the fatal brawl along China's controversial border with India on Monday.
At least 20 Indian soldiers died in the battle in the Galwan Valley and tensions arose between the two powers.
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China has not recognized any losses among its armed forces. Both sides accused the other of a raid.
The border between the two nations in the region is poorly demarcated and can change with topographical changes.
The picture that showed up on Thursday showed rough weapons that seemed to be made of iron bars studded with nails. It was handed over to the BBC by a senior Indian military official on the Indian-Chinese border, who said the weapons were used by the Chinese.
Defense analyst Ajai Shukla, who first tweeted the picture, described the use of such weapons as "barbarism." The lack of firearms in the clash stems from an agreement between the two sides in 1996 to ban weapons and explosives along the controversial border section to prevent escalation.
The image was widely distributed on Twitter in India, causing outrage among many social media users. Neither Chinese nor Indian officials commented on this.
According to media reports, troops collided on ridges nearly 14,000 ft (4,267 m) high along a steep terrain, with some soldiers falling into the fast-flowing Galwan River at freezing temperatures.
First death in four decades
The two sides have been arguing along the controversial border in recent weeks, but Monday's clash was the first to result in deaths for at least 45 years. According to unconfirmed reports in the Indian media, at least 40 Chinese soldiers have died, but China has yet to release information about the victims. It is still believed that some Indian soldiers are missing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said India crossed the border twice and "provoked and attacked Chinese personnel, causing serious physical confrontation between border forces on both sides," the AFP news agency said.
China claimed "sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region" on Wednesday - a claim that India refuted as "exaggerated and unsustainable."
Indian army trucks drive to Ladakh on a highway on Wednesday
In both countries, members of the public have since held protests against the clashes in the contested Himalayan border area, while officials have spoken cautiously and turned to a diplomatic solution.
The Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava, said the foreign ministers of both countries had a telephone conversation on Wednesday about the developments and "agreed that the overall situation should be handled responsibly".
"Making exaggerated and unsustainable claims contradicts this understanding," Srivastava was quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency.
A statement by the Indian government after Subrahmanyam Jaishankar's conversation with Wang Yi from China said that the Chinese armed forces had attempted to establish a structure on the Indian side of the de facto border, the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The statement accused the Chinese of "deliberate and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and loss," and urged China to "take corrective action."
In a Chinese statement, Mr. Wang was quoted as saying, "China is again expressing strong protest against India and is asking the Indian side to launch a thorough investigation ... and to stop all provocative measures to ensure that the same things are not yet happen once. "
Why weren't there weapons?
The harsh climate and high altitude terrain of the Galwan River Valley in Ladakh lies along the western sector of the LAK and near Aksai Chin, a controversial area claimed by India but controlled by China.
This is not the first time that the two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought at the border without conventional firearms. India and China have a history of encounters and overlapping territorial claims along the more than 3,440 km long, poorly drawn LAC that separates the two sides.
The last fire on the border occurred in 1975 when four Indian soldiers were killed in a remote passport in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Former diplomats described the clash differently as an ambush and an accident. But no bullets have been fired since.
The basis for this is a bilateral agreement from 1996, which states that "no side may open fire ... carry out explosion operations or chase with weapons or explosives within two kilometers of the line of actual control".
However, there have been other tense confrontations along the border in recent weeks. In May, Indian and Chinese soldiers exchanged physical blows on the border to Lake Pangong, also in Ladakh, and in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, hundreds of miles to the east.
India has accused China of sending thousands of troops to the Ladwan-Galwan valley and says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers of its territory. Border disputes have not been resolved in several rounds of talks in the past three decades.
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