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UN Chief urges India, China to exercise ‘maximum restraint’ amid escalating tensions

UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over reports of violence and deaths of soldiers at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)  urging India and China to exercise “maximum restraint.”

A total of 20 Indian Army personnel have been killed during a violent clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on Monday night, escalating the already volatile border standoff between the two sides, an Army statement said on Tuesday.

Eri Kaneko, Associate Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, made the comments at the daily press briefing. “We are concerned about reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China and urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint. We take positive note of reports that the two countries have engaged to deescalate the situation,” Kaneko said.

Kaneko was responding to a question on the death of Indian Army personnel in a violent face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley amid escalating tensions at the LAC.

Initially, the Indian Army said one officer and two soldiers were killed on Tuesday. Later in the night, an Army statement said 17 more soldiers who “were critically injured in the line of duty at the stand off location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20.”

“Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020,” it said, adding that the “Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.”

Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times newspaper said on Tuesday, the Chinese military also suffered casualties in a border clash with Indian soldiers. “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash,” Hu Xijin said in a tweet.