India had expected the de-escalation process to go forward smoothly after a consensus had been reached during talks on June 6

The Indian Army on Monday announced that it had lost an officer and two soldiers during a clash with Chinese troops on Monday night in the Galwan Valley area of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry promptly said that the clash broke out after the Indian troops crossed the border for illegal activities and launched provocative attacks against Chinese personnel, and the Chinese side has lodged a strong protest and solemn representation.

This is a distorted presentation of what actually happened - it was the Chinese side that tried to change the status quo, leading to clashes.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “On the late-evening and night of 15th June, 2020 a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there”.

A report in Global Times on Tuesday quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian as saying that the Indian troops on Monday severely violated the consensus reached in the two countries’ army commander-level talks on June 6, as they crossed the border twice for illegal activities and launched provocative attacks against Chinese personnel, leading to serious physical conflicts between troops from both sides.

In reality, it is the Chinese troops who actually violated the consensus that is being referred to by China’s Foreign Ministry here. The Ministry of External Affairs said that senior Commanders from both sides “had a productive meeting on 6th June 2020 and agreed on a process for such de-escalation”. Subsequently, ground commanders had a series of meetings to implement the consensus reached at a higher level.

While India expected this process to go forward smoothly, “the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley”.

Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side, the MEA spokesperson said.

The Chinese side has lodged a strong protest and solemn representation to the Indian side, urging it to strictly restrain its frontline troops according to the consensus, and not cross the borderline and make any unilateral movement that could complicate the border situation, Zhao was quoted by Global Times as having said.

India, however, has consistently maintained that its troops always operated within the Indian side of the LAC. “Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the same of the Chinese side,” the MEA spokesperson reiterated.

“We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," he emphasised.