Military commanders from India and China in the Galwan Valley have agreed to pull back their troops in a bid to reduce tension in an area that saw clashes leave at least 20 dead on the Indian side and as many as 40 dead on the Chinese side last week.

The commanders in the region are reported to have reached the agreement on Monday in what was a first meeting since the clashes a week earlier.

Located in the remote Ladakh region on India’s Himalayan frontier with China and Pakistan, it was reported at the time as the deadliest clash since the mid-1970s.

Whilst India was quick to report their own casualties, China made no comment for several days, but when an Indian government minister suggested that up to 40 Chinese troops had been killed in the engagement denied the claims vehemently.

“I can tell you responsibly that it is false information,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

China has still made no comment on the numbers of casualties its troops suffered.

In referring to the moves to reduce tension in the region, Zhao also said “the two sides had a frank and in-depth exchange of views on the prominent issues in the current border control and agreed to take necessary measures to cool down the situation.”

A spokesman for the Indian army added that “commander-level talks … were held at Moldo in (a) cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere. There was mutual consensus to disengage.”

The engagement between Indian and Chinese troops last week came about in an unusual manner as soldiers on both sides posted to the region are not allowed to use personal firearms.

As such a mixture of homemade clubs pierced by nails, rocks and fistfights took place at the border some 4,250m above sea level.

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