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India and China were close to war last year, says lieutenant general | India News

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NEW DELHI: India and China came close to full-blown conflict during the jostling between rival soldiers through the heights of Ladakh’s Kailash range in late August 2020, Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. YK Joshi said on Wednesday.
“We were on the brink, absolutely on the brink … the war was actually avoided,” he said. Joshi, speaking to some journalists in Leh, also said that the number of PLA soldiers killed during the clashes in the Galwan Valley on June 15 could reach 45.
India lost 20 soldiers during the fighting in the Galwan Valley, while China has so far refused to reveal the number of casualties in its ranks. Lt. Gen. Joshi, speaking to CNN-News 18, said that while India has not ceded any territory to China, the latter “has achieved nothing except a loss of prestige.”
He said there were situations after Indian troops surprised the PLA by occupying the heights of the Kailash range south of Pangong Tso from August 29-30, and even moved tanks there, which “could have erupted into armed conflict.”
With the PLA also moving its tanks up to the heights and Indian troops sitting on top with tanks and rocket launchers, “the easiest thing would have been to pull the trigger after seeing them in the crosshairs of the telescopic sights” but with maximum restraint was maintained, he said.
“Those were very tense and challenging times for us,” he said, even as the withdrawal of troops in the Pangong Tso area is underway. Regarding the Galwan fighting, Lt. Gen. Joshi said that Indian observation posts had “picked up a large number of PLA casualties who were being transferred on stretchers.
Over 60, actually. But whether they were fatal or not, we cannot say with authority. ”

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