File photo: Twitter handle of Rajnath Singh

Srinagar: Over 24 hours after Indian Army lost 20 of its soldiers including a Colonel in a violent standoff in Galwan valley in Ladakh, Defence minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday said that loss of soldiers was “deeply disturbing and painful”.

Singh tweete: “The loss of soldiers in Galwan is deeply disturbing and painful. Our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.”

“The Nation will never forget their bravery and sacrifice. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen soldiers. The nation stand shoulder to shoulder with them in this difficult hour. We are proud of the bravery and courage of India’s breavehearts,” he added.

The Indian Army has stated that 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action in a violent face-off with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan area on Monday night. This marked a sharp escalation in tensions between the two countries, who had reportedly been in the midst of a process of disengagement from their stand-off that began six weeks ago.

Both the Chinese foreign ministry and army asserted that Indian troops had provoked the violence by crossing over to their territory, but the latter explicitly cited China’s claims.

“The sovereignty over the Galvan Valley area has always belonged to China,” said PLA western theatre command spokesperson Colonel Zhang Shiuli in its latest statement.

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