Indian troops broke commitments and “seriously violated agreements,” China’s military said Tuesday after reports of three Indian troops being killed in disputed Jammu and Kashmir. 

A top official in the Indian Army told Sputnik on Tuesday that the number of casualties on the part of India has increased to at least 40 soldiers following a skirmish with Chinese troops.

“Indian troops have broken their promises and again crossed the Line of Actual Control [LAC] in the Galwan Valley region on Monday evening and purposely launched provocative attacks, leading to severe clashes and casualties,” said Chinese People's Liberation Army Western Theater Command spokesman Col. Zhang Shuili, according to the Global Times newspaper.

The clash took place during a “de-escalation process” in the Galwan Valley where the two armies have been engaged since early May, according to the Indian army.

"Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured at the Line of Actual Control and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total number of people being killed to 20. Indian Army is firmly committed to protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation", the official stated.

The source went on to say that more than 130 Indian soldiers have received injuries, while the number of casualties may go up further.

The Indian army said in a statement earlier in the day that one officer and two soldiers from India were killed during clashes on the border with China in the Ladakh region and the two countries' senior military officials were holding talks to defuse the situation.

Beijing has reacted to the fresh escalation in the border area by accusing the Indian military of crossing the border at the Galwan Valley and provoking clashes by attacking Chinese forces. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest and made representations to New Delhi.

Since the two neighbouring countries do not have a marked border but rather the Line of Actual Control, which was created after the 1962 war between the nations, numerous border conflicts have taken place over the decades.

 Border tensions between India and China flared up in May, leaving dozens of soldiers injured on both sides.  

On June 6, Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, the commander of the Indian army's 14th corps, met with Maj. Gen. Lin Liu of China's People's Liberation Army group in the South Xinjiang Military Region, to discuss the situation.

According to the Indian Foreign Ministry, the sides agreed to settle the matters at the border by peaceful means and continue military and diplomatic contacts.

It is the first time since 1975 that China and India have engaged in a fatal military clash along the de facto border between the two countries.

Border skirmishes between China and India started May 5 in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, followed by another in the Nakula pass in India’s northeastern Sikkim province three days later.

“Stop all provocative actions, meet the Chinese side halfway and come back to the right path of solving disputes through talks,” Zhang said.

“China always owns sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region, and the Indian border defense troops are inconsistent with their words and seriously violated the agreements both countries have reached, the consensus made during the army commander-level talks and harmed the relations of the two militaries and the feelings of the two countries' peoples.”

The Chinese military claimed sovereignty over the valley which is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region and currently under the control of India.

But China and India have not clearly marked the boundary which divides the two countries that is the LAC and not an International Boundary (IB).

Earlier Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry said it lodged a “strong protest and solemn representation to the Indian side,” urging it to “strictly restrain its frontline troops according to the consensus, and not cross the borderline and make any unilateral movement that could complicate the border situation.”