Deaths of Indian soldiers in clash with China ‘will not be in vain’ says PM Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers in border skirmishes with the Chinese military will “not be in vain,” and vowed a response if there is further provocation.

“I would like to assure the country that the sacrifice of our soldiers will not be in vain. For us, the unity and integrity of the country is the most important… India wants peace but is capable of giving a reply if provoked,” Modi said in a televised address Wednesday.

I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain. 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: PM Narendra Modi

— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2020

The PM’s comments came after deadly skirmishes in the mountainous Galwan Valley, a disputed region near Kashmir that is claimed by both China and India as sovereign territory.

Shortly after Modi’s comments the Chinese foreign ministry said that it has agreed with India to de-escalate the situation as soon as possible.

The ministry said in a statement that senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told Indian Foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday that India should severely punish those responsible for the conflict and control its frontline troops.

A two-minute silence was observed during a Wednesday security briefing held between Modi and his chief ministers to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers.

“The whole country is with the families of those who sacrificed their lives for the country. India will defend every stone, every inch of its territory. India is a peace-loving country which has always tried to maintain cooperative and friendly relations with neighbors,” the prime minister said.

The troops were reportedly “exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high-altitude terrain” and succumbed to their wounds. Indian media claimed as many as 43 Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers were killed, but this figure has not been confirmed by Beijing.

Modi has called an all-party meeting on Friday at 5pm to discuss the Galwan Valley situation.

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