China's Foreign Ministry issued a stern warning to India on Thursday, saying that the Indian side should not underestimate Beijing's "firm will" to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.
"India must not misjudge the current situation or underestimate China's firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty", Hua Chunying, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said, while reiterating that it was Indian frontline forces that broke the consensus reached between the two nations on 6 June.
Indian troops crossed the Line of Actual Control, "deliberately provoking and attacking Chinese officers and soldiers, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties", Hua Chunying added.
The statement came hours after Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Shrivastava, while responding to China's claim to the Galvan Valley, said both sides had agreed to handle the situation responsibly. “Making exaggerated and untenable claims is contrary to this understanding”, he said in a statement.
India and China have accused each other of instigating the clash in the Galvan Valley of the eastern Ladakh region, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed, making them the first combat casualties in 45 years between the two Asian giants. The Indian Army claimed that there were casualties on the Chinese side as well, but Beijing has not given any statement to that effect.
The stand-off over the Galvan Valley continues, even after the foreign ministers of the two countries spoke over the phone on Wednesday, while major general-level military talks remain inconclusive as well. Indian government sources have claimed that Chinese troops trespassed into the Indian side in the valley as far as two kilometres.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi demanded to “harshly punish” those responsible for escalating the violence in the valley on Monday.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's foreign minister, blamed China for the recent clashes, which he called a “premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reaffirmed on Wednesday that India is capable of giving a befitting reply to China in case of provocation. “Soldiers' sacrifices won’t go in vain”, Modi said.
Border ties between India and China have been strained for over a month and a series of high-level meetings have been conducted to resolve the issue. However, no conclusion has been reached so far.