BEIJING (AP) – Chinese and Indian military commanders have agreed to take out their forces in a disputed area of the Himalayas following a collision that killed at least 20 soldiers, both countries said Tuesday.
The commanders reached the agreement on Monday at their first meeting since the June 15 confrontation, the countries said.
The confrontation in the Galwan Valley, part of the controversial Ladakh region along the Himalayan border, was the deadliest between the two countries in 45 years.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said “the two sides had a frank and in-depth exchange of views on the prominent issues at the current border control and agreed to take the necessary measures to cool the situation.”
The Indian military said in a statement that “commander-level talks … were held in Moldo in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere. There was mutual consensus to stop.”
Zhao denied apparent speculation by an Indian minister that 40 Chinese troops had been killed in the June 15 clash.
“I can responsibly tell you it is false information,” he said during a daily briefing.
India has said that 20 of its soldiers died. China on its side has not released any information about victims.
Soldiers fought with bats, rocks and their fists in the thin air at 4,270 meters (14,000 feet) above sea level, but no shots were fired, Indian officials have said. The soldiers carry firearms, but are not allowed to use them under a previous agreement in the border dispute.
Indian security officials have said the fatalities were caused by serious injuries and exposure to freezing temperatures.
The valley falls within a remote stretch of the 3,380-kilometer line of de facto control – the border that was established after a 1962 war between India and China that resulted in an uncomfortable truce.
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