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US condoles deaths of Indian soldiers in LAC clash

By Lalit K Jha
June 19, 2020 09:21 IST
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The United States on Thursday expressed its deepest condolences to India on the loss of lives of its soldiers in violent clashes with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh early this week.

IMAGE: Family members of Mandeep Singh, who was among twenty soldiers martyred during a clash with Chinese troops along the border in Ladakh, at their residence in Patiala district of Punjab. Photograph: PTI Photo

"We extend our deepest condolences to the people of India for the lives lost as a result of the recent confrontation with China," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet, hours after his meeting with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi.

"We will remember the soldiers' families, loved ones, and communities as they grieve," said Pompeo.

The State Department did not say if the recent India-China confrontation along the Line of Actual Control in East Laddakh appeared during the Pompeo-Yang talks in Hawaii.

A day earlier, the White House had said President Donald Trump is aware of the fierce clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Laddakh.

Twenty Indian Army personnel, including a colonel, were killed in the clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley on Monday night, in the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff between the two countries.

 

"The president is aware of it. We're monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had told reporters when asked about the border clash.

"We have seen the Indian Army statement that 20 Indian soldiers died as a result of the confrontation today, and we extend our deepest condolences on that," she had said.

McEnany stressed that there are no formal plans to mediate between India and China.

“No formal plans on that beyond what I already said in expressing our absolute condolences to the Indian soldiers that died as a result of today's confrontation. We extend our deepest condolences there,” she said.

“I would note just that during the phone call on June 2 of this year that President (Donald) Trump had with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, they did discuss the situation on the India-China border,” McEnany said.

Monday's face-off was the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while over 300 Chinese army personnel were killed in the face-off.

According to a report in the US News, at least 35 Chinese troops including one senior official died in the violent clash with Indian soldiers.

The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to border transgressions and has demanded their immediate withdrawal for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides have held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the row.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India contests it.

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Lalit K Jha
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