20 Indian soldiers killed in a deadly clash with Chinese soldiers in Ladakh

Kashmir under spotlight as tension escalates between India and China on Ladakh  

20 Indian soldiers killed in a deadly clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh. Chinese authorities reported 43 causalities without specifying the numbers of dead or injured Chinese soldiers. It is still not clear that Chinese side suffered causalities or injuries. The soldiers from both sides used stones and batons in the clash. No guns were used.  The brutal hand to hand scuffle broke out at the Himalayan border.     
The Indian army stated in the morning that a 'violent face-off' erupted in the Galwan Valley in the northern Ladakh state on Monday night 'with casualties on both sides.' Initially Indian military reported just two deaths but in the afternoon the army announced that the true death toll was 20 soldiers, including a colonel. 
The 20 soldiers succumbed to injuries they suffered in the sub-zero temperatures of the high-altitude terrain. The incident is the first such confrontation between the two Asian giants since the 1975 Arunachal ambush, during which four Indian soldiers were killed along the disputed border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).  
This deadly clash once again escalated the tension between nuclear armed neighbours. The Galwan Valley clash is the deadliest between the two countries since the 1962 Sino-India war in which India suffered humiliating defeat and 1967 Nathu La conflict. 
  The two sides have blamed each other but independent analysts say India's building of new roads in the region may have been the fuse for the dispute. This new road built to Daulat Beg Oldi, the world's highest airstrip and the site of an intense Sino-Indian dispute in 2013. The road allows for the rapid and vast movement of Indian troops into the region.   
 In the Galwan Valley soldiers have been locked in a weeks-long face-off. India's foreign ministry spokesman said in May: 'It is Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India's normal patrolling patterns.'  
On May 25 the Chinese state-owned Global Times said Indian troops had been trespassing on Chinese territory and wrote: 'The Galwan Valley region is Chinese territory.' The Global Times report claimed that Indian troops were trying to erect illegal defence facilities since the beginning of May and that China had border controls in response to Indian provocations in the Galwan Valley. 
India claims that China is occupying 38,000 square km of its territory. But the matter of fact is that India itself occupied the large parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Modi government changed the special status of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into different regions. Modi government last year ended the constitutional protections and special status of Kashmir.  Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and divided between India, Pakistan and China.

The tensions are running high on the one side between India and Pakistan and on the other side between India and China since the Indian government has changed the constitutional and legal status of disputed Indian occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir. The tensions are also running high alongside with LOC.   
 In 2017, Indian troops were mobilised in Doklum area near Bhutan after Chinese soldiers threatened to build a road there, which India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj described as a threat to India's security. 
The Indian and Chinese sides are separated by the LAC which is difficult to discern because rivers, lakes and snowcaps mean it can shift. The world's two most populous nations and nuclear-armed neighbours have never even agreed on the length of their 'Line of Actual Control' frontier, which straddles the strategically important Himalayan region. Recent decades have seen numerous skirmishes along the border, including a brief but bloody war in 1962.
1962 Sino-Indian War
Chinese troops poured over the disputed frontier with India in 1962 during a row over the border's demarcation. It sparked a four-week war that left thousands dead on the Indian side before China's forces withdrew.
Beijing retained Aksai Chin, a strategic corridor linking Tibet to western China. India still claims the entire Aksai Chin region as its own, as well as the nearby China-controlled Shaksgam valley in northern Kashmir.
1967 Nathu La conflict
Another flashpoint was Nathu La, India's highest mountain pass in northeastern Sikkim state, which is sandwiched between Bhutan, Chinese-ruled Tibet and Nepal.
During a series of clashes, including the exchange of artillery fire, New Delhi said some 80 Indian soldiers died and counted up to 400 Chinese casualties.
India-Pakistan wars on Kashmir
India and Pakistan fought three wars on Kashmir.The tension is still running high on LOC. Indian unilateral decision to change the status of indian occupied Kashmir and its division escalated the tension between traditional rivals.   Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint between three nuclear armed states. The peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue is vital for the lasting peace in the region. The Kashmir issue should be decided according to the inspirations and will of Kashmiri people.  United Nations and big powers must play their role to settle this decades long conflict that has the potential to triggered a full-fledged or a limited bloody war between nuclear powers.  
                                                            Khalid Bhatti 

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