But the crisis escalated on Tuesday when the number of Indians killed in an extraordinary confrontation soared to 20 - they had died without a single shot being fired. India said both sides suffered casualties. China is yet to confirm its number of dead or injured. The site of the clash was on the de facto border - the Line of Actual Control or LAC - between the two countries. India and China share a border that is more than 3,440km (2,100 miles) long and have overlapping territorial claims.
The Galwan river valley, with its harsh climate and high altitude terrain, lies along the western sector of the LAC and close to Aksai Chin, a disputed area claimed by India but controlled by China.