Both India and China blame each other for the clash in a disputed Himalayan region that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and more than 70 injured.

This June 18, 2020 satellite photo shows the reported site of a fatal clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan River Valley in the Ladakh region near the Line of Actual Control in the Himalayas.
This June 18, 2020 satellite photo shows the reported site of a fatal clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan River Valley in the Ladakh region near the Line of Actual Control in the Himalayas. (AP)

India and China on Saturday each traded accusations that the other had violated their shared de facto border, an area that this week became the site of the deadliest clash in half a century between the two nuclear-armed giants.

A day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to downplay Monday's clash, which killed at least 20 Indian soldiers and injured more than 70, his government blamed the Chinese side for seeking to erect structures "just across the Line of Actual Control," as the demarcation is known, and refusing India's request to stop.

India will not allow any unilateral changes to the disputed border, it said in a statement.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Indian troops of a "deliberate provocation" in the tense Himalayan area.

In a series of tweets, Zhao said the Galwan Valley was on the Chinese side of the line and that Indians had since April unilaterally built roads, bridges and other facilities in the region.

The Indian troops "crossed the Line of Actual Control" and attacked Chinese officers and soldiers who were there for negotiation, triggering "fierce physical conflicts", Zhao said. China has not released any casualty figures for its troops.

READ MORE: India's Modi says no territory lost to China in Kashmir clash

India wants peace but can fight back

India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava declined to comment on China's claim to the valley. But Modi said in a meeting with political opposition leaders on Friday that “neither anyone has intruded into our territory, nor took over any post”.

Modi said India was “hurt and angry” about the deaths of its troops. He said India wanted peace and friendship, but had the “capability that no one can even dare look towards an inch of our land”.

Also on Friday, Zhao said that China was not holding any Indian soldiers, without addressing media reports that China released 10 of them late Thursday.

“My information is that at present there are no Indian personnel detained on the Chinese side,” Zhao said, according to an English version of his daily briefing posted on the ministry website.

Indian officials have denied that any soldiers were in Chinese custody.

Earlier reports, based on the ministry's simultaneous translation at the briefing, said that Zhao had said that India had not seized any Indian soldiers.

The later version posted on the ministry's website leaves open the possibility that Indian troops were being held earlier.

Indian officials have denied that their soldiers were in Chinese custody.

READ MORE: Timeline: the Line of Actual Control between China and India

Source: TRTWorld and agencies