Summits between Chinese and Indian military commanders following the clash in the Galuan Valley in eastern Ladakh helped calm the situation on the de facto border, known as the Line of Factual Control (LAC).
A statement from the Indian Ministry of Defense said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army “conducted provocative military movements to change the status quo” and “violated the previous consensus reached during military and diplomatic commitments during the ongoing opposition in East Ladakh “.
The statement said Indian troops had overtaken Chinese military activity on the southern shore of Lake Pangong Tso and had taken steps to strengthen their positions and “thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change the facts on the ground.”
On Monday, China’s foreign ministry denied any invasion of Indian territory. “Chinese border troops always adhere strictly to the Line of Actual Control and have never crossed the line. The border troops of the two countries maintain communications along the line of control,” said spokesman Zhao Liang.
Pangong Tso Lake is a long, thin body of water located about 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the Galvan Valley at an altitude of 4,350 meters (14,270 feet) in the Himalayas. Most of the lake is located in the Chinese region of Tibet, and the Line of Actual Control passes through it.
Saturday’s alleged incident is the latest in a long series of territorial escalations between the two countries in the Himalayas. In 1962, India and China engaged in a border war in which thousands died. As a result of the conflict, both sides have established a 3,300-kilometer (3,379-kilometer) line of de facto control, although neither side agrees on its exact location, and both regularly accuse the other of exceeding it or wanting to expand their territory.
Fights are not uncommon on the remote, mostly mountainous border. However, the June 15 incident was the deadliest in decades and led to a breakdown in relations between Beijing and New Delhi.
China maintains that India is entirely to blame for the large-scale quarrel that erupted on June 15 after Indian troops crossed the LAC in violation of a previous agreement.
“It was shocking that Indian troops publicly violated the agreement, broke their own promise and crossed the LAC to provoke the Chinese side on June 15,” said Wu Qiang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, in late June. “When Chinese troops arrived for talks, they were suddenly attacked by Indian troops and this led to a physical duel between the two countries and caused casualties.”
In response, India’s foreign ministry said China had instigated the deadly clash.
“So far, Chinese actions have led to increased tensions in the region, as well as the June 15 violent screening of victims,” a statement said in June.