After the death of 20 soldiers in a clash on Monday night with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday: "A violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there".
Colonel B.Santosh Babu, Havildar Palani and Sepoy Ojha were among the soldiers killed in the clashes that took place just as Chinese troops were getting ready to move away from a location per an agreement.
The Colonel was reportedly assaulted with stones and Indian soldiers retaliated, which led to close unarmed combat for several hours. The soldiers disengaged after midnight.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: "On the late-evening and night of 15th June, 2020 a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side."
India and China have been discussing through military and diplomatic channels the de-escalation of the situation in the border area in Eastern Ladakh, said the spokesperson, and senior Commanders had a productive meeting on June 6 and agreed on a process for such de-escalation. Subsequently, ground commanders had a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached at a higher level.
"While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley," said the foreign ministry.
"Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the same of the Chinese side. We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the statement.