20 soldiers killed in 'violent' border clash with Chinese troops

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping, pictured in 2016 Credit: AP

Twenty Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer, have been killed in a "violent face-off" with Chinese soldiers in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, an Indian army spokesman has said.

The soldiers were killed when a “de-escalation process” turned into a violent scuffle between the Indian army and Chinese troops deployed at the borders on Monday night.

Senior military officials from both sides are currently meeting at the venue in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping, pictured in 2016. Credit: AP

The incident comes days after Indian and Chinese military held talks on the Ladakh border in a bid to deescalate rising tensions.

India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with senior Indian military officers, according to the Indian army where he was said to have "reviewed the current operational situation in Eastern Ladakh".

The country's external affairs minister was also present.

"China has lodged strong protests and solemn complaints with the Indian side, and once again solemnly demanded that the Indian side strictly restrain the frontline troops,” said Zhao Lijian, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

An Indian man burns a photograph of Chinese president Xi Jinping during a protest against China in Ahmedabad. Credit: AP

He added: “China and India agree to continue to resolve bilateral issues through dialogue and consultation and make efforts to ease the tension and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas."

The Chinese military also suffered casualties in the clash, the editor-in-chief of China's Global Times newspaper said on Tuesday.

It was the first such confrontation between the two Asian giants since 1975 in which soldiers have died.