India soldiers killed in clash with Chinese forces

Three Indian soldiers have been killed in a clash with Chinese forces in Ladakh in the disputed Kashmir region.

The Indian army said senior military officials from both sides were "meeting to defuse the situation", adding that both sides suffered casualties.

China did not confirm any casualties, but accused India of crossing the border and attacking its soldiers.

A foreign ministry spokesman called on India not to take unilateral actions or stir up trouble.

The spokesman, Zhao Lijian, was quoted as saying that India had crossed the border twice on Monday, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides".

China's Global Times newspaper reported that "solemn representations" had been made with India over the incident.

The clash comes amid rising tensions between the two countries. India has accused China of sending thousands of troops into Ladakh's Galwan valley and says China occupies 38,000 sq km of its territory.

Clashes were reported at a number of places last month.

Their armies - two of the world's largest - come face to face at many points. The two sides are separated by the poorly demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC). Rivers, lakes and snowcaps mean the line can shift, provoking confrontation.

Both sides insist no bullet has been fired in four decades, and the Indian army insisted again on Tuesday that "no shots were fired". Local media outlets reported that the Indian soldiers were "beaten to death" but there was no confirmation from the military.

'Col Chewang Rinchen Setu', a bridge built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) over River Shyok, connecting Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern Ladakh
Image captionTensions have risen over a road built by India in Ladakh

There are several reasons why tensions are rising now - but competing strategic goals lie at the root, and both sides blame each other.

India has built a new road in what experts say is the most remote and vulnerable area along the LAC in Ladakh. And India's decision to ramp up infrastructure seems to have infuriated Beijing.

The road could boost Delhi's capability to move men and material rapidly in case of a conflict.


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