This is the biggest military confrontation between both countries in over five decades.

Former football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia and Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli among other athletes have condemned China’s recent activities on the Indian border. They also paid tribute to the Indian soldiers martyred during a standoff with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

20 Indian Army personnel, including a Commanding Officer (CO), were martyred in a fierce clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. While an Indian officer and two soldiers were initially reported to be martyred, the army later revised the figure to 20, saying 17 others “were critically injured in the line of duty and exposed to sub-zero temperatures at the standoff location, succumbed to their injuries.”

On June 6, Lt. General-level talks were held between India and China in a bid to resolve the month-long border standoff in Eastern Ladakh. Although, a disengagement was initially agreed upon by both sides, China broke its promise and returned to the border to setup camp once again. This led to a scuffle between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley, resulting in casualties on both sides.

“China had asked all its citizens to leave India a few weeks back. The killing of our soldiers at the LAC was I think a planned one. We completely condemn this cowardly act of China. Indian Govt. should take strong necessary action and not bow down to Chinese aggression,” Bhaichung Bhutia wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile, current Indian football skipper Sunil Chhetri called for a quick resolution of the problem, while also praying for the families of the army personnel who laid down their lives.

Sunil Chettri said, “Resolve this across a table while you can, not at the border. Act swiftly, for the sake of those army personnel who have died and for those who shouldn’t. I can only hope that the families of those who have laid down their lives find the strength to deal with their losses.”

“Salute and deepest respect to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect our country in the Galwan Valley. No-one is more selfless and brave than a soldier. Sincere condolences to the families. I hope they find peace through our prayers at this difficult time,” wrote Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli.

His teammate and opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan said, “A sacrifice that will never be forgotten by the nation. Heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the Indian Army officer and the two soldiers. Saluting your bravery, Jai Hind!”

Indian sprinter Hima Das also offered condolences to the martyred soldiers on Twitter. “Deeply saddened by the loss of our bravehearts in #GalwanValley. We will forever be indebted to them for their invaluable service to the nation. My heartfelt condolences to their families,” she wrote.

Olympic silver medalist and ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal was among the sportspersons who prayed for the families of the armymen who lost their lives. “I salute the Indian army… I salute the Indian soldiers who were martyred at #GalwanValley… My heart goes out to the families of these brave soldiers…,” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the situation on the country’s border with China.

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