LIVE: India's Modi says sacrifice of soldiers 'won't go in vain'

In live TV address, Indian leader says the country wants peace, but will give China a ‘befitting reply if instigated’.

  • In a TV address to the nation, Indian PM Modi says the sacrifice of soldiers killed in Ladakh by China’s army “will not go in vain”.

  • China says it does not want to see any more clashes on the border with India following a clash on Monday that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers.

  • India says the “violent face-off” is an attempt by China to “unilaterally change the status quo” on the Galwan Valley frontier in Indian-administered Ladakh.

  • Beijing, in turn, accuses the Indian army of “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation”.

Here are the latest updates:

11:06 GMT – EU asks India, China to ‘show restraint’ and talk

Virginie Battu-Henriksson, the European Union spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, has called the India-China border tension a “worrying development” and urged the two Asian nuclear powers to “show restraint and engage in military de-escalation”.

“This is crucial for building trust and reaching a peaceful solution which is essential to preserving peace and stability in the region,” she said.

10:59 GMT – India, China foreign ministers discuss border clash

The foreign ministers of China and India have held telephone talks over the deadly border clash, agreeing to “cool down” tensions as soon as possible, Beijing said.

Both sides agreed to “deal fairly” with the events in the Galwan Valley and maintain peace in border areas, China’s foreign ministry said.

10:41 GMT – Russia welcomes China-India contacts aimed at de-escalation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow welcomes the contacts between its close allies India and China after a deadly border confrontation.

Lavrov said at a press conference that “it’s already been announced that military representatives of India and China have been in contact, they are discussing the situation, discussing measures for its de-escalation. We welcome that.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has close ties with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian premier Narendra Modi, who has talked of a “special chemistry” with the Russian strongman.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: “Both China and India are very close partners for us, allies.” “We are paying close attention to what is happening on the China-India border.”

10:23 GMT: #WeStandWithIndianArmy trends on India Twitter

Indians have taken to social media to express their anger and grief over China killing 20 soldiers, while four others are reported to be critical.

Hashtag ‘We Stand With Indian Army’ trends on Twitter, with many calling for revenge and others asking for a boycott of Chinese products.

10:07 GMT – ‘China concerned at India building road along LAC’

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at The Wilson Center, has told Al Jazeera a combination of factors are at play behind the India-China tension.

“I believe China has been concerned at Indian road building along the Line of Actual Control [LAC], particularly one road that was completed last year that essentially allows connectivity from Leh, the capital of Ladakh, all the way to Karakoram Pass,” he said.

Kugelman said any conversation on the Chinese motivation must address India’s repeal of Article 370, which granted autonomy to Indian-administered Kashmir. The federal territory of Ladakh, where the latest clashes took place, was carved out of the former Jammu and Kashmir state following the repeal.

“I think it’s clear. Beijing responded strongly and quickly after India made that move last year. I think China looks at Article 370 repeal similarly as Pakistan does. India made a unilateral move that affected a territory that China claims as its own,” Kugelman told Al Jazeera.

“I think the [coronavirus] pandemic played a part too. China knows that it has been put on the defensive by a lot of strong criticism from key capitals around the world about its initial response to the coronavirus. It has found itself in a lot of hot water with lot of key actors, not just the US but others too. I think China wanted to divert attention by pushing back hard against India.”

09:45 GMT – Modi says sacrifice of soldiers ‘won’t go in vain’

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the sacrifice of the 20 soldiers killed by the Chinese army “will not go in vain” and urged that “differences [with China] should not turn into disputes”.

“For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important… India wants peace but it is capable to give a befitting reply if instigated,” he said.

Modi ended his address on live television by observing a two-minute silence and folding his hands in order to pay his tributes to the dead soldiers.

The Indian leader has also called for a virtual meeting on June 19 with the opposition parties to discuss the tension with China, his office said.

09:17 GMT – India, China armies ‘talking to defuse tension’

Talks are being held between senior Indian and Chinese army officers in the Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayan region to defuse the situation, India’s news agency, ANI, reported citing sources in the Indian army.

In a report earlier on Wednesday, ANI had also claimed that a Chinese military commander was among more than 40 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers killed in Monday night’s “violent face-off”. The news agency provided no further details.

08:45 GMT – India awaits Modi’s response to Ladakh killings

India waits for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to the death of Indian soldiers as the country’s media vented its fury and political rivals goaded Modi over his silence.

Modi, who rode to power on a nationalist platform, met his defence and foreign ministers and military chiefs late on Tuesday, but he has yet to speak publicly on the worst clash between the two countries since the Nathu La conflict in 1967, five years after the Sino-Indian war.

“Why is the PM silent, why is he hiding,” Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party tweeted. “Enough is enough, We need to know what happened. How dare China kill our soldiers, how dare they take our land.

08:33 GMT – China says it does not want any more clashes

China has said it does not want to see any more clashes on the border with India, adding that both countries are trying to resolve the situation via dialogue.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated that China is not to blame for the clash and said the overall situation at the border is “stable and controllable”.

08:17 GMT – China’s drill in same area of clashes with India

China’s state broadcaster reported on a large military exercise in the same region as a recent deadly border clash with India, The Associate Press reported.

The CCTV report did not mention when exactly the military exercise was conducted, only mentioning “recently” and that 155 vehicles were used in Nyainqentanglha Shan more than 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from the site of recent deadly clashes between the two nations’ armies.

“The exercise adopted a joint strategy of combating three-dimensional intrusion and seizing control,” said Zhang Jialin, Tibetan Military Region Brigade Commander.

08: 04 GMT – India defence minister tweets condolence

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said the killings of soldiers in Galwan Valley 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,” he tweeted.

“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.”

07:30 GMT – How Indian, Chinese media reported Ladakh clash

While Chinese state media has downplayed a deadly military confrontation with India in the Indian-administered Ladakh region, Indian newspapers called for “steely resolve” over the killing of at least 20 soldiers.

Indian news agency ANI on Tuesday night claimed that 43 Chinese soldiers had died in Monday’s clash, without giving further details. Chinese media did not reveal casualties on its side.

Read more here.

07:15 GMT – Key dates in decades-old India-China conflict

Asian regional superpowers India and China share a long history of mistrust and conflict along their lengthy border, and tensions flared this week in their first deadly clash in more than four decades.

The world’s two most populous nations and nuclear-armed neighbours have never agreed on the length of their LAC frontier, which straddles the strategically important Himalayan region.

Read more here.

Source: Read Full Article