On June 15, the worst violence on the India-China border since 1967 claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers. The clash occurred in the Galwan Valley. On June 19, the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that the entire valley is located “on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”
- The Galwan Valley refers to the land that sits between steep mountains that buffet the Galwan River.
- The river has its source in Aksai Chin, on China’s side of the LAC, and it flows east to Ladakh, where it meets the Shyok river on India’s side of the LAC.
- The valley is strategically located between Ladakh in the west and Aksai Chin in the east, which is currently controlled by China as part of its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- At its western end are the Shyok river and the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road. Its eastern mouth lies not far from China’s vital Xinjiang Tibet road, now called the G219 highway.
- The Line of Actual Control (LAC) lies east of the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers in the valley, up to which both India and China have been patrolling in recent years. After the June 15 clash, however, China has claimed the entire valley lies on its side of the LAC.