Seven Indian soldiers killed in accident near disputed border

Police officers in India

Photo by Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Ima

A traffic accident in the remote Ladakh region, close to the disputed border with China, has killed at least seven Indian soldiers and injured 19 others, police said Friday.

The world’s two most populous countries have diverted tens of thousands of additional troops to the high-altitude Himalaya region after a deadly hand-to-hand combat in June 2020 that killed at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.

“Seven soldiers killed and 19 wounded in the remote Nubra area,” a senior police officer in Ladakh told AFP.

The incident happened early on Friday when a vehicle carrying the soldiers for deployment slipped off the road close to the disputed border and plunged about 15 meters into the Shyok River, the official said.

“Frightened by the bus accident in Ladakh in which we lost our brave army personnel,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

“My thoughts are with the relatives. I hope the injured recover as soon as possible. All possible help is given to those affected.”

India and China, after fighting a large-scale border war in 1962, have long accused each other of trying to conquer territory along their unofficial dividing line, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Relations have deteriorated dramatically since a clash in June 2020 along a section between Ladakh and Tibet.

Both sides have since bolstered the region with additional soldiers, military equipment and new infrastructure as multiple rounds of military and diplomatic talks have failed to de-escalate tensions.

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