India-China conflict: Modi's death

The Indian Prime Minister has said that at least 20 soldiers who died in fighting with Chinese troops in the disputed Himalayan border area were "in vain".

Narendra Modi said India was proud of the deaths of our soldiers on Monday in the conflict in the Ladakh region.

Soldiers were reportedly carrying sticks, bats, and bamboo sticks with fingernails. No shots fired.

The two sides blame each other.

It was the first deadly clash between the two sides in the disputed Kashmir border in at least 45 years. Some Indian soldiers believe that there are no more.

The Indian military said China was also in danger, but Beijing did not provide any details.

The Indian statement said the wounded soldiers were "sub-zero temperatures in high altitude areas".

India has said that China has "tried to unilaterally change the situation", as each party has alleged. Beijing alleges that Indian troops "attacked Chinese personnel".

Later the two armies attempted to negotiate to ease the tensions.

What happened?
The battle took place in the rocky terrain of the strategically important Galvan Valley between Tibet in China and Ladakh in India.

The Indian media claimed that the soldiers fought directly at the hands of some of them. During the fight, one newspaper reported, others fell or were pushed into the river.

The Indian Army initially claimed that one colonel and two soldiers were killed. It was followed by "17 Indian soldiers severely wounded in the line of duty" and "a total of 20 killed" with their wounds.

Defense analyst Ajay Shukla told the BBC: "I understand that the Indian soldiers are missing something. The Indian side is still working to release them from Chinese custody."

The Chinese army is reported to have been axed by Chinese soldiers.

A senior Indian military official told the BBC that there were 55 Indians and 300 Chinese, describing them as "death squads".

"They hit our heads with barbed wire and metallic poles. Our boys fought with their hands," the official said.

His account, unverified, in other reports in the Indian media, describes the horrors of the war.

This skirmish has led to protests from people who have flown Chinese flags in India.

Addressing the confrontation in a televised speech on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi said: "India wants peace, but when provoked, India can give a fair answer whatever the situation."

"The country is proud that our soldiers fought the Chinese and died."

He said he would "reassure the country" that the loss of troops was "in vain". “For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is very important,” he said.

China accused India of crossing the border. The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it wants to avoid further clashes, but did not provide further details.

It did not confirm how many of its staff were killed or injured. Robin Brant of the BBC in Beijing said China has never had a peaceful confirmation of military deaths.

On this occasion, our correspondents say that Chinese propagandists are unwilling to extinguish nationalist fires at home, so that no harm is done and that they will accept considerable and catastrophic damage.

This is not the first time two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought without a conventional gun at the border. There is over 3,440 km (2,100 miles) of face-to-face and overlapping territorial claims between India and China, with the diminishing Line of Actual Control (LIC) separating the two sides.

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