Four Chinese soldiers died in a border incident with India in the eastern Himalayas last year, China has confirmed.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed a report published on Friday by PLA daily, the newspaper of China’s People Liberation Army, according to which four Chinese soldiers were killed in the mountainous Ladakh region in June.
India had consistently exaggerated the number of Chinese casualties, spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
India and China had been locked in a serious stand-off since May along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – an informal and disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region, until the two countries agreed on a phased and coordinated removal of forward troop deployments from the Ladakh border last week.
India had accused China of mobilising troops and armaments along the LAC and of transgressing the line and violating pacts to maintain peace on the disputed border. China claimed its soldiers were on its territory.
According to India, 20 Indian soldiers were killed during the confrontation, the worst between the neighbours in 45 years. China hadn’t disclosed its toll until Friday.
The two sides had been conducting talks at multiple levels since then to de-escalate the situation. Minor skirmishes between soldiers of the two sides were also reported since the June face-off.
India and China have differing perceptions of what constitutes the LAC, which runs through disputed territory on their ill-defined 3500km border, through largely uninhabited high mountain terrain.
This has led to several small conflicts, and a full-fledged war in 1962.