Demonstrators shout slogans as they burn an effigy depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping during a protest in Kolkata. Reuters
Indians burned portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday as families cremated the remains of some of the 20 soldiers killed in brutal hand-to-hand fighting with Chinese troops in a disputed mountainous border region.
Troops remained on alert at the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region of the western Himalayas three days after the clashes, in which India said China had also suffered casualties. China has not given details of any deaths or injuries among its troops.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar spoke to senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on Wednesday and the two sides agreed not to take any steps to escalate matters and instead ensure peace and stability on the contested frontier.
An Indian official said senior military officers from both sides were holding talks on Thursday to defuse tensions. The talks were ongoing, the official said.
But both Jaishankar and Wang Yi traded blame for the deadliest border clash since 1967 and called for the other side to rein in their troops.
"The need of the hour was for Chinese side to reassess its action and take corrective action," the Indian foreign ministry quoted Jaishankar has telling Wang.
The Chinese diplomat said India must punish those responsible for the conflict and control its frontline troops, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Hardline nationalist groups with ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped up calls for a boycott of Chinese goods and a cancellation of contracts with Chinese firms.
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Scores of people shouted "Victory to Mother India" as the body of Colonel B. Santosh Babu, the seniormost Indian officer killed in the clash, was taken in a flower-bedecked military truck to his home-town of Suryapet in southern India.
Funerals of other soldiers will also be taking place in their hometowns and villages.
Residents in the northern city of Kanpur held a mock funeral of Xi and burned his portrait, shouting anti-China slogans. While in Cuttack, in eastern India, an effigy of Xi and a Chinese flag were burned.
In the western Indian city of Surat, a group of people gathered on Wednesday and threw a Chinese-made television set on the ground and stomped on it in a show of protest.
"In the current situation, the China issue should not be taken lightly…In many cases, there may be Chinese money invested, but I think the regular things we buy from the market, one should certainly make sure that we avoid Chinese products," Food and Consumer Affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan told the Economic Times.
The External Affairs Ministry said in statement that a meeting between Indian and Chinese military commanders at a border post in the Himalayan region on Saturday took place in a "cordial and positive atmosphere.”
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