The United Nations is urging China and India to “exercise maximum restraint” after a violent fight broke out Monday between soldiers from both sides of a remote Himalayan border.
It was the worst clash between the two nuclear-armed neighbors in 45 years.
“We are concerned about reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control between India and China," U.N. spokesperson Eri Kaneko said. “We take positive note of reports that the two countries have engaged to de-escalate the situation."
A U.S. State Department spokesperson said the U.S. is closely monitoring the situation and supports a peaceful resolution. The official said President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the border situation during a phone call two weeks ago.
India said 20 of its troops were killed and 17 hurt Monday. It also said a number of its soldiers were taken prisoner.
China gave no information on any casualties and blamed the Indians for provoking the fight by crossing into Chinese territory.
"We demand that the Indian side strictly restrain its front-line troops, immediately stop all infringement and provocative actions, and work together with China to return to the correct track of dialogue and negotiations to resolve the differences," Chinese military spokesman Zhang Shuili said.
Indian officials said the Chinese claims that Indian soldiers started the fight were “totally false” and said that Chinese forces erected a temporary post on the Indian side of the border and attacked the Indian soldiers who came to investigate.
“The Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” officials said.
No shots were fired during Monday’s fight in the Galwan Valley in the western Himalayas, but lots of punches were thrown along with rocks and iron bars with nails poking out.
India is building a road to link the Galwan Valley region to an airstrip very close to Chinese territory.
Monday’s fighting erupted after a month of growing tension along the stretch of the Line of Control, which was set up as part of a shaky truce after the India-China war in 1962.