Indian MPs on Thursday demanded the government take revenge on China amid a wave of public fury over Chinese troops’ use of nail-studded rods in the lethal border clash earlier this week.
On Monday night Chinese troops ambushed an unarmed Indian patrol in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, a piece of contested territory China had allegedly agreed to withdraw its forces from.
Doctors carrying out post mortem examinations on the 23 Indian fatalities told the Telegraph their injuries were consistent with weapons embedded with nails or barbed wire.
A photograph of a spiked-club apparently used in the clash was shared across India after Indian Army sources provided it to journalist and defence expert Ajai Shukla.
“Such barbarism must be condemned. This is thuggery, not soldiering,” Mr Shukla wrote on Twitter.
An irate member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday called for the annexation of China-controlled territory in Aksai Chin, the easternmost part of the contested Ladakh region.
“We want a one-time solution. Not just the people of Ladakh but people of the country too want a one-time solution,” said Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP for the region of Ladakh.
“After the sacrifice of our soldiers, I am starting to think the time has come to take Aksai Chin back,” he told India Today. Former leader of the opposition, Rahul Gandhi, also demanded fiercer retaliation from the government.“It is now clear that China has committed an unforgivable war crime,” he said.
“The Chinese have used bayonets, nail studded iron rods, wooden clubs wrapped with barbed wire...to mount a surprise attack on our unarmed soldiers.”
Chinese and Indian troops have intermittently engaged in fist-fighting along the Line of Actual Control in recent years but there have been no casualties since 1975, as the two superpowers had agreed not to use weapons to maintain an uneasy ceasefire.
Anti-Chinese protests have broken out in most major Indian cities with Chinese flags and effigies of Chinese President Xi Jingping burnt.
Talks are ongoing between senior Indian and Chinese military officials to reach a resolution to the dispute.
Neither country wants a full-blown war but both need to figure out a way to stand down without losing face Dr Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House told The Telegraph.
India and China have been facing-off for over a month in Ladakh after Chinese troops crossed the Line of Actual Control on May 5 and 6 to occupy 60 square kilometres of territory administered by India at four locations - Pangong Tso Lake, Galwan River and Valley, Hot Springs and Demchok.
China said India had crossed the border twice, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides", the AFP news agency reported.